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NASA Curiosity rover delivers insanely high-res Mars panorama

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This is a smaller version of the massively high-res Mars panorama.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

Over 1,000 images. A whopping 1.8 billion pixels. This is Mars like you've never seen it before.

NASA released a monumental Martian panorama on Wednesday made from images snapped by the Curiosity rover in late 2019. It's the highest-resolution panorama the space agency has ever produced of the wild Martian landscape.

The composite image shows a sweeping view of the Glen Torridon area of Mars in the Gale Crater.  

NASA offered up the whole 2.25 GB image file for download, but you can also zoom around the landscape in your browser. Not content with just one massive panorama, NASA also created a second, smaller version that shows more of the rover in the picture.  

A NASA video points out some of the highlights you can experience within the image, including the crater rim, a smaller impact crater tucked inside Gale and the wheel tracks left behind by the rover.

This was a challenging feat to pull off. The Curiosity camera team planned the images for the four days of the Thanksgiving holiday last year. The team had to schedule the snaps around the same time each day in order to keep the lighting consistent.

It could be years before humans make it to Mars. This may be the next best thing to being there.

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