Get Lost in This Billion-Pixel Photo of Mars

June 20, 2013 | Andy Cush

Whoaaaaaa. Yes, this interactive photo of the surface of Mars, taken by the Curiosity rover, is 1.3 billion pixels large. Go, look at it, zoom and scroll around. Look at all the locations NASA bookmarked for you–“Laser shots,” “Wheel tracks,” “Bird-shaped rock!” That’s an image of Yellowknife Bay above. Fuck, this is awesome.

Atlantic Cities explains what you’re looking at:

The individual images, NASA explains, were taken on several different Martian days between October 5 and November 16, 2012. Bob Deen, of the Multi-Mission Image Processing Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, assembled the composite using 850 different frames from the telephoto camera of Curiosity’s Mast Camera instrument. He then supplemented those with 21 frames from the Mastcam’s wider-angle camera and (and with 25 black-and-white frames — mostly Curiosity’s selfies — taken from the Navigation Camera).

The resulting mosaic, which uses the clickable, zoomable Gigapan platform, depicts illumination effects from variations in the time of Martian day. It also shows variations in the clarity of the atmosphere.

One billion pixels, people.