Mastcam-Z's 360-degree View of Van Zyl Overlook
Click on image for full resolution version (93,060 X 20,652 pixels, 2.0 GB)
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z stereo imaging system to capture this 360-degree panorama of "Van Zyl Overlook," where the rover was parked for 13 days as the Ingenuity helicopter performed its first flights. The 2.4 billion-pixel panorama is made up of 992 individual right-eye Mastcam-Z images stitched together. The images were taken between April 15 and 26, 2021, or the 53rd and 64th Martian days, or sols, of the mission. View an interactive version of this image here.
An additional version of the panorama has been provided as Figure 1 which includes the addition of the rover's deck as seen by its navigation cameras on March 20, 2021, the 31st sol of the mission.
A few small patches of near-field sand had been covered by parts of Perseverance when the right-eye Mastcam-Z images were taken; those gaps were filled with images of the same sandy patches taken by the Mastcam-Z left-eye camera at the same time, or from the earlier navigation camera images. Imaging coverage of the sky has also been digitally smoothed and expanded based on the actual sky color observed as the panorama was being acquired on Mars.
Arizona State University in Tempe leads the operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego.
A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.