Panorama reveals a colorful Mars

(Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS)

Scientists say the first 360-degree color panorama photo sent from Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover reveals an unusual amount of variation, including dark dunes, red soil and tan rocks. And they can hardly wait to sample the material behind all those colors.

The picture unveiled today at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., isn’t the best imagery that the rover’s Mastcam is capable of. It was put together from 130 images, each measuring 144 by 144 pixels. The high-resolution version goes eight times wider, but that means it’s much bigger as well. Curiosity just hasn’t had the bandwidth to send it yet.

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