Posts Tagged ‘Curiosity’

NASA Curiosity Rover captures rare photographs of clouds on Mars

12 Aug
Clouds drift across the sky above a Martian horizon in this photograph captured on July 17, 2017 by the Navcam on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/York University

Last month, NASA’s Curiosity Rover captured something (appropriately enough) curious in the Martian sky: clouds. Specifically, Curiosity snapped several sequences of “wispy, early-season clouds resembling Earth’s ice-crystal cirrus clouds” that NASA is calling “the most clearly visible so far” since the Rover landed 5 years and 5 days ago.

As NASA explains in a news release:

Researchers used Curiosity’s Navigation Camera (Navcam) to take two sets of eight images of the sky on an early Martian morning last month. For one set, the camera pointed nearly straight up. For the other, it pointed just above the southern horizon. Cloud movement was recorded in both and was made easier to see by image enhancement.

Each sequence of 8 images was enhanced and turned into an animated GIF:

To learn more about these photos and the science behind why there are clouds on Mars, and why they were a lot more common billions of years ago, head over to the NASA news release by clicking here.

All photos courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/York University

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NASA ortbiter snaps aerial photo of lonesome Mars Curiosity rover

23 Jun
The bright blue dot at the center of this photo by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is actually NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, going about its lonely mission on the Red Planet. © Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

No human photographer could capture this aerial photograph. That’s because this image is literally out of this world – it was captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on June 5th, and shows the Mars Curiosity Rover as it traverses the red planet, approximately 241,500,000 miles away from where I sit typing this right now.

It’s hard to spot, and you have to look really closely, but there’s a small blue dot in the very middle of the photograph above. This closer crop might help:

There, amid the Martian landscape, you can actually see the Curiosity rover as it trekked along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp, on its way to ‘Vera Rubin Ridge.’

The photograph was taken by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter using its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, which captures a red band, blue -green band, and an infrared band, combining these together to form an RGB image. Because of this, the photograph is not a so-called ‘true color’ image, and the orbiter appears bluer than it actually is.

Oh, and if you’re curious, you can actually see what Curiosity was seeing when this photo was captured. The rover was using its Mast Camera to shoot these photographs of the Martian landscape while its picture was taken.

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Explore Mars with 360-degree image shot by NASA Curiosity Rover

11 Jun

Earlier this year, NASA released a 360-degree image from the perspective of the Curiosity Mars Rover. The scene is made up of a combination of multiple exposures taken with the rover’s 2MP ‘Mastcam’ camera, which we wrote about back in 2012.

The resulting image is pretty incredible, and if you have access to a Google Cardboard viewer you can experience it in 3D. So if you’ve got a free few minutes this weekend, why not explore the surface of Mars? 

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Curiosity and Creativity: Ep. 135: You Keep Shooting: Adorama Photography TV

15 Dec

AdoramaTV Presents You Keep Shooting with Bryan Peterson. Join Bryan as he discusses curiosity and its role in creativity. Watch as Bryan uses his unique artistic eye to to make visually exciting discoveries. Related Products: Nikon D300S 12.3 Megapixels SLR Digital Camera Body with 3″ LCD, CF and SD/SDHC Card Slot Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Autofocus Telephoto Lens – with 5 Year USA Warranty Flashpoint L100 3 Section Aluminum Tripod, Ball Head & case Learning to See Creatively by Bryan F. Peterson Understanding Closeup Photography by Bryan Peterson, Soft Covered Book Visit for more photography videos!
Video Rating: 4 / 5 (Budget Equipment) In this video I compare the two most popular types of umbrellas, shoot through and reflective umbrella. Shoot through umbrellas are translucent which allows the light to pass. They give you more wrap around light in your portraits. With reflective umbrella, it’s still wrap around light BUT it becomes a bit directional and may cast a little bit of shadow compared to shoot through. Which umbrella should you choose? Well, they are so cheap that everyone who does studio portraits or outdoor strobist photography should simply own both. Equipment used in the video. DSLR: Nikon D3s and Nikon D700 Lens: Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VRII and Nikon 50mm 1.8G AFS lens Umbrellas – Lastolite trifold umbrella and cowboy studio reflective umbrella
Video Rating: 4 / 5


Curiosity Rover takes high-resolution self-portrait on Mars

03 Nov


While we’re stuck down here on earth, NASA’s Curiosity rover is currently trundling around on the surface of Mars, mapping the terrain and analyzing rocks. This week, Curiosity took time out from its busy schedule to snap an arms-length self-portrait, showing the rover in situ, in Gale Crater – 140 million miles from home. The composite image is made up of 55 high-resolution images, taken using its MAHLI camera, which is mounted on the end of a robotic arm. Click through for more details and a link to the full-resolution image.

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Curiosity Rover Photos, A Landscape Photographers Perspective

16 Oct

Landscape photographers are often striving to photograph new places, but imagine being the first person to ever photograph an alien environment. Some time ago I wrote about his in relation to the landing on the moon in my blog post Isolation and Discovery. My day dreams of photographing landscapes of distant, if not alien environments, has been revived by the recent stream of images from the Mars Curiosity Rover.  The rover is equipped with 17 cameras so there will be plenty of photos to come over the next year. The main Mast camera (MastCam) has begun snapping a series of lower resolution (by consumer dSLR standards) images that can be stitched together to create larger high resolution images. Neat, but what is really cool is NASA is making all the images from the rover available on their web site in high resolution (see the Curiosity Rover Multimedia page). If you have the inclination you can stitch and process the images yourself. I had a few minutes the other day to do this and here are the results:

Mars Curiosity Rover Pano Color Corrected Comparison (Top RAW from NASA & Botom My Version)

View the large color corrected pano comparison (2954 x 1000)

View the large color corrected pano (2954 x 500)

Mars Curiosity Rover Pano Color Corrected Comparison Zoom

View the large corrected version of the pano with the uncorrected section (2975 x 500)

I thought it would be interesting to take the RAW uncorrected images from NASA and color correct them as I do with my landscape photos. I have my very own recipe of edits that expand on the basics of finding a black, grey and white point in a scene including mid-tone contrast adjustments, edge masks and more. Relying on the “auto” curves or levels feature in Photoshop may be good for a quick fix, but it’s not always an accurate correction. The biggest challenge obviously in color correcting NASA’s images is that  I don’t have a firsthand experience of seeing the scene with my naked eye and the lighting scenario/time is unknown to me. I can only make educated guesses and fly blind by referencing the data in the RAW file.  While my effort to color correct these images is not perfect it’s easy to see the difference.

Mars Curiosity Rover Pano Color Corrected (NASA vs Mine) Comparison Zoom

Above is the color corrected version from NASA placed atop my version of the scene. I have to trust NASA on this one, but it still seems like it has room for improvement. It would be interesting to learn more from NASA what the Earth equivalent “time of day” these photos were taken on Mars and possibly get a better understanding of the air quality & atmospheric differences. With this additional knowledge Earth-bound landscape photographers who have a great feel for the quality of light at different times of day on Earth might be able to help create a more accurate rendition of what these scenes actually look like.

For now I’ll be waiting patiently for the next batch of  images to be downloaded from Mars. The images above are part of a larger panoramic. It should be pretty amazing to see what it looks like as a whole not to mention see what other amazing images make their way back to NASA.

Additional Info on Mars Color Correction
On this trip NASA included a color calibration target . This is great, BUT it’s only going to help for situations when there isn’t a natural tint of color in the atmosphere (sunset, sunrise, impact from particulate matter, etc.). Here on Earth if you if you use such a color calibration target at sunset or sunrise the golden hour light is completely neutralized even though it’s a naturally occurring color phenomenon. Unfortunately on Mars it may not be known what the naturally occurring hue in the atmosphere  is in general or at different times of the day. I’m hoping that NASA is able to provide information about the angle of the sun in the sky in relation to the photos relayed from the rover. While it may be impossible to know what the average natural hue of the sky is (less a spectrophotometer focused on the sky) it might allow for some modeling to make an educated guess. For purposes of geological study the neutral coloring will likely help study rocks better, but in giving the average person a view of what Mars actually looks like the color calibration target on the rover may not help that much.

Mars Curiosity Rover Color Correction Scale Target

Technorati Tags: Mars, Curiosity Rover, Photo, Landscape, Astrophotography, Color Correction

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Curiosity Rover Photos, A Landscape Photographers Perspective

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