3
$\begingroup$

This recently released terrain of Mars as taken by the Curiosity Rover looks like it was done in black and white. Is this really how it looks like to the naked eye?

Photo of Mars: Rover's Reward for Climbing: Exposed Contact From here.

$\endgroup$
9
$\begingroup$

No, two pairs of MSL (Curiosity) Navcams are black & white visible light stereoscopic (45 degree angle of view) cameras. They're mounted on a mast at a rough height of what a human would see if standing on the surface of Mars and the paired cameras (left and right pair) enable stereoscopic 3D view. Or, straight from the horse's mouth:

Two Pairs of Engineering Navigation Cameras (Navcams):

Mounted on the mast (the rover "neck and head"), these black-and-white cameras use visible light to gather panoramic, three-dimensional (3D) imagery. The navigation camera unit is a stereo pair of cameras, each with a 45-degree field of view that will support ground navigation planning by scientists and engineers. They work in cooperation with the hazard avoidance cameras by providing a complementary view of the terrain.

These Navcam images are also contrast-enhanced so it's easier to discern terrain variation. The image you attach seems to be a subframe (crop) of Navcam Left B frame taken on Sol 991 (2015-05-21 09:30:04 UTC):

   enter image description here

This frame's timestamp should help you identify other raw images from engineering and science cameras on MSL that would match MSL's point of view. Closest color images from Mastcam (Mast Camera) are here, for example, this frame shows a part of the Navcam frame (but is narrower field of view):

   enter image description here

So no, the image you attach wouldn't be exactly what you'd see if you were at the same spot on Mars as MSL was on Sol 991 because it lacks colors, but it does have geometric fidelity of what you'd see in black & white with a single (left) eye. And it has a right Navcam pair taken at exactly the same time from exactly the same spot so, in time, there should also be anaglyph 3D images available from the same area. Or, if you're skilled in image editing software, you could make your own:

   enter image description here

So put on your anaglyph 3D (red & blue) glasses and click on the image above for full resolution. Made out of already mentioned left and right stereo pair frames.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.