It is no secret that NASA’s invaluable work above has lead to precious advancements outside the sphere of aeronautics back on the ground. As we celebrate the anniversary of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER), consisting of the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, this becomes evermore apparent.
Part of the success of Spirit and Opportunity came in the thousands of incredible images of the red planet which were transmitted back to Earth. In fact, as of January of 2009, both rovers had together sent back nearly 250,000 of these images, including breathtaking panoramic photographs of the Martian landscape. Rooted in the same photographic technology employed by both Spirit and Opportunity, GigaPan Systems was founded in 2008 as a collaborative project between a team of researchers at NASA and Carnegie Mellon University. As described on the company’s website, their mission is to, “bring this powerful, high-resolution imaging capability to a broad audience.” As GigaPan Systems continues, “Gigapans are gigapixel panoramas, digital images with billions of pixels. They are huge panoramas with fascinating detail, all captured in the context of a single brilliant photo.” At 200 times the size captured by today’s standard 4-megapixel digital camera, Gigapixel images allow for remarkable detail within an image leading to what has been described as “virtual exploration.”
To read more about GigaPan:
Celebrate the Opportunity and Spirit Mars Rovers by writing to Congress to let them know you support doubling funding for NASA: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/