APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

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APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:10 am

Image Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars

Explanation: What's in this smooth soil on Mars? In late October, NASA's robotic Curiosity rover stopped near a place dubbed Rocknest as it continues to explore Gale Crater on Mars. Rocknest is the group of stones seen near the top left of the above image -- just to the left of Curiosity's mast. Of particular interest was the unusually smooth patch of soil named Wind Drift seen to the left of Curiosity, which was likely created by the Martian wind blowing fine particles into Rocknest's wake. The above image shows part of Mt. Sharp in the background to upper right, and, oddly, almost the entire rover itself, digitally reconstructed from 55 frames while digitally removing an extended arm. Curiosity scooped several sand samples from Wind Drift into its Chemistry and Mineralogy Experiment (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory for a detailed analysis. Preliminary data from the soil indicates a small amount of one-carbon organic material the origin of which it presently unknown. Although the organic signal might be just contaminants from Earth, the exciting possibility that it could be from Mars itself will remain a focus of future exploration and research.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by geckzilla » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:12 am

Even though I know a lot about digital processing I still have a hard time understanding just how the arm was processed out of the picture.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by solodog » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:12 am

geckzilla wrote:Even though I know a lot about digital processing I still have a hard time understanding just how the arm was processed out of the picture.
Yes, it makes one wonder just how truthfull some of these pictures are when an ordinary person sees that something is just not right with the picture. Even the tracks of the rover are somewhat suspect when really looked at. It could be even on this planet where the picture is taken.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by royalpalms6 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:40 pm

How is Curiosty takeing photos of it's self?

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:20 pm

solodog wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Even though I know a lot about digital processing I still have a hard time understanding just how the arm was processed out of the picture.
Yes, it makes one wonder just how truthfull some of these pictures are when an ordinary person sees that something is just not right with the picture. Even the tracks of the rover are somewhat suspect when really looked at. It could be even on this planet where the picture is taken.
Oh no geckzilla, look what you have started; Curiosity isn’t really on Mars at all? Another conspiracy theory running amok. (I had a professor who actually believed that the Apollo Moon landings were all faked.) Well, as to this apod photo, if they had really faked it don’t you think they would have edited out the reflection of the Man In Black in the main lens of the Mast Cam? 8-)

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by orin stepanek » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:26 pm

royalpalms6 wrote:How is Curiosty takeing photos of it's self?
I wondered as well until I read the explanation!
while digitally removing an extended arm.
I must say I really don't know how to digitally remove something from a photo; but professional photographers can do a lot with a photo! :wink:
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by rstevenson » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:32 pm

royalpalms6 wrote:How is Curiosty takeing photos of it's self?
Conceptually it's a fairly straightforward process, though actually doing the post-processing must be quite time consuming.

The arm with the camera on it moves around taking photos of Curiosity from various angles. Imagine holding a camera out at arm's length yourself, taking "selfies". As you move your arm you'll be taking photos of areas from one angle that can't be seen from another angle. So once you've got all the photos you then need to go in and erase your arm from the main photo, and copy/paste in pieces from photos taken to either side of that one, as well as above and below it. You layer all these pieces together and trim and rotate and stretch the pieces until they line up and fit into the main photo.

I suppose they could have included the arm that took the picture by patching in a piece taken here on Earth before Curiosity left for Mars, but they didn't. Here's a quote from the image's catalog page at NASA: "The rover's robotic arm is not visible in the mosaic because the MAHLI [Mars Hand Lens Imager] that took this mosaic is on the turret at the end of the arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic's 55 images."

If it turns out that the tax paying public likes these sort of images, a future mission could carry an independant camera on a tripod, which it could set up and leave for a while. The rover could move around in its field of view doing the science work, then go back, pick up the camera and move to another location. Nature photographers do this all the time.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by geckzilla » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:38 pm

Rob, it still baffles me how not even a tiny part of the robotic arm is visible. You would think there would be at least one part or a few shadows present in enough of the images that there wouldn't be enough data to fill in the gaps.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by rstevenson » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:50 pm

geckzilla wrote:Rob, it still baffles me how not even a tiny part of the robotic arm is visible. You would think there would be at least one part or a few shadows present in enough of the images that there wouldn't be enough data to fill in the gaps.
I found it!
arm_erased.jpg
You can see where they erased the rest of the arm, leaving this bit showing. It's from the bottom-left area of the rover's body, nearest the scoop marks in the sand. I expect they very deliberately left this for pixelators like me to find, so they can't be accused of trying to hide what they're doing.

If I looked closely enough, I'm sure I could find other image artifacts here and there where, for example, shadows wouldn't look quite right or edges are at slightly the wrong angle. But since the whole picture is made up of 55 sub-images, I'd expect that anyway.

Rob
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by ritwik » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:09 pm

APOD Robot wrote:the exciting possibility is that it could be from Mars itself ,the remains of fossils of extinct species is a subject matter of research. :wink:

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by minkfarms » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:42 pm

Great shot and like previous posts I was going to lament the picture creating an ever running conspiracy theory. Some people don't read or more likely don't have any reading comprehension. I think they should have edited out the scoop tracks too because they look like foot prints to the dubious conspirator. :roll:

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by orin stepanek » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:45 pm

rstevenson wrote:
If I looked closely enough, I'm sure I could find other image artifacts here and there where, for example, shadows wouldn't look quite right or edges are at slightly the wrong angle. But since the whole picture is made up of 55 sub-images, I'd expect that anyway.

Rob
Could that be shadow of the camera on the right front wheel and axle?
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:45 pm

geckzilla wrote:Rob, it still baffles me how not even a tiny part of the robotic arm is visible. You would think there would be at least one part or a few shadows present in enough of the images that there wouldn't be enough data to fill in the gaps.
There are two ways this can be done. Rob has described the low-tech approach, which is simply to fill in the mosaic with images made from different positions, where the arm wasn't in the way. This is completely trivial to do in editors like Photoshop. There are even camera apps that can do this automatically now, taking several images in quick succession and removing everything that moves (so you get vacation pictures without people in them).

There is also a higher tech approach that is often used to produce digital mosaics, and which can eliminate things like camera booms. This involves mapping each pixel in the images to actual coordinates, and producing a virtual image from that, which is then rendered into the image we see. This type of dataset can be used to render images with different perspectives or viewpoints, as well. It's how the Blue Marble images are produced, and it's how Martian mapping data is created.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by Psnarf » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:47 pm

martian.jpg
Judging by the tracks, it took a bit of manoeuvring to get into position for the images. Was Curiosity moved in order to get such a wide panorama, or were the images taken from the same location, much like one stitches images side-by-side to get a wide panorama?
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by geckzilla » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:09 pm

Good job, Rob. Admittedly, I didn't spend too long searching. :)
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by emc » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:47 pm


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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by emc » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:20 pm

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/namerover/Winn ... ncedEssay/
“Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives. We have become explorers and scientists with our need to ask questions and to wonder.” excerpt from Mars Science Laboratory naming contest, winning essay by Clara Ma, age 12
We can learn a lot from our kids. Clara mentions three questions in her essay, of the three I like "Why am I me?" the best. I expect we all wonder at our sense of self at some time or another. (I’m pretty sure M.C. Escher did!). For me it’s kind of like venturing out into deep space... where I happily drift untethered until my synapse snaps me back to more immediate physical things like posting here on SA*.

I hope you’re enjoying the holidays! May your spirit thrive and may you find sufficient answers to your important questions!

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by rstevenson » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:25 pm

orin stepanek wrote:Could that be shadow of the camera on the right front wheel and axle?
Yes, good catch. That's almost certainly a shadow of the mound of gadgets, which include the camera, on the end of the arm.

Once you start looking at shadows, there are oddities all over the place. That's not surprising, of course. They were trying to get a good image of the rover, so correct shadows would be a low priority, especially considering the sub-images would have been taken over a fairly long period of time during which the Sun was moving across the sky.

Rob

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:27 pm

rstevenson wrote: [...]

If it turns out that the tax paying public likes these sort of images, a future mission could carry an independant camera on a tripod, which it could set up and leave for a while. The rover could move around in its field of view doing the science work, then go back, pick up the camera and move to another location. Nature photographers do this all the time.

Rob
I think that's a great idea. It wouldn't be disorienting, and you could see the robots against more scenic backgrounds.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by Mactavish » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:44 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Rob, it still baffles me how not even a tiny part of the robotic arm is visible. You would think there would be at least one part or a few shadows present in enough of the images that there wouldn't be enough data to fill in the gaps.
There are even camera apps that can do this automatically now, taking several images in quick succession and removing everything that moves (so you get vacation pictures without people in them).
My wife wants one of these to remove a few wrinkles.

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by Beyond » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:48 pm

Mactavish wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Rob, it still baffles me how not even a tiny part of the robotic arm is visible. You would think there would be at least one part or a few shadows present in enough of the images that there wouldn't be enough data to fill in the gaps.
There are even camera apps that can do this automatically now, taking several images in quick succession and removing everything that moves (so you get vacation pictures without people in them).
My wife wants one of these to remove a few wrinkles.
Well... wait a minute... wrinkles don't move, do they :?:
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by Wadsworth » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:49 am

Excellent mosaic!
Go humanity!

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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by neufer » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:58 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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Re: APOD: Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars (2012 Dec 27)

Post by Beyond » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:48 pm

Well... that was neat!!
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