This 360-degree image shows a complete, full-resolution panorama around NASA’s Curiosity rover, taken by the Navigation cameras. The pointy rim of Gale Crater can be seen as a lighter strip along the top right of the image. The base of Mount Sharp can be seen along the top left.
The image is a cylindrical projection, which shows the horizon as flat.
Scientists create a cylindrical projection by remapping each pixel from the original image onto a cylinder. They computed the azimuth and elevation of each pixel in the original image and remapped it onto a virtual cylinder. From the rover’s reference frame, each pixel is assigned an elevation (an angle measured from the horizon) and an azimuth (a compass angle expressed in degrees, which represents direction, such as north = 0º, east=90º, south=180º, and west = 270º). Pixels in the same row of this image are at the same elevation, and pixels in the same column of this image are at the same azimuth.
This mosaic is made of 26 images, 1,024 by 1,024 pixels, taken late at night on Aug. 7 PDT (early morning Aug. 8 EDT), sol 1. Seams between the images have been minimized as much as possible.
There are more images to enjoy taken by Curiosity to check out her condition after her landing on August 6, sol 0.
Two images stand out for their quirkyness of both showing underneath the rover.
The front hazard avoidance camera (front HazCam) imaged what is under the rover. Like the image of the full-res panorama by the NavCam above, this image is also a cylindrical projection. The simplest way to imagine a cylinder projection is to think of an image that has been wrapped around a cylinder and then flattened out. When the Hazcam image is projected in this way, it creates the impression that the viewer is sitting underneath the rover and slightly behind the cameras.
Pictured here are the wheels, still positioned more or less as they were when they were tucked inside the spacecraft (aeroshell) en route to Mars. Before she will drive off Curiosity will stretch her wheels and put them in their forward position.
The image directly above was created from images taken by the rear hazard avoidance cameras (rear HazCam) underneath the rover deck also on August 6, Sol 0. Again a cylindrical projection was created.