The latest panorama sent down by NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover is unique in more ways than one. Not only is it a panorama taken on another planet (still blows our minds), it’s also been subjected to some post production. The photo — a piece of which is seen above — has actually had its white balance modified by NASA to make it look more like it was taken on Earth.
The panorama (both altered and unaltered) is a composite of images that come together to show Mars’ Mount Sharp, a 3-mile tall peak raising out of Gale Crater that Curiosity is currently roving towards.
Here’s the full white-balanced panorama (click the photos for higher resolution):
And here’s the unaltered raw image:
As you can see, in the white balanced image the sky is changed from the characteristic Mars butterscotch to an Earthy blue, which in turn makes the rocks and dust look the way they would under Earth light.
And while it may seem strange to white balance an image from another planet to look more like it would at home, the changes weren’t made for aesthetic purposes. According to NASA, altering Martian images in this way helps scientists to better recognize rock materials.
(via Laughing Squid)