Feast your eyes on Curiosity's latest photos of Mars, including new telephoto views of Mt. Sharp!

You're looking at a small section of a vast and colorful panoramic view of Mars, one of the latest to be beamed back by NASA's Curiosity rover. The panorama (click here for full-res) shows a 360-degree view of the rover's landing site, and a clear shot of the highest visible reaches of Mount Sharp, the rover's primary scientific target.

Sharp towers an impressive 5 kilometers above the floor of Gale crater, its peak soaring even higher in elevation than portions of the crater's rim. If it looks small here, that's because there's a fair bit of distance between it and Curiosity — about 12 miles (20km). According to the Agency:

The images were obtained by the rover's 34-millimeter Mast Camera. The mosaic, which stretches about 29,000 pixels across by 7,000 pixels high, includes 130 images taken on Aug. 8 and an additional 10 images taken on Aug. 198. These images were shot before the camera was fully characterized.

Check out the video below to see the panorama up-close.


Also included in Curiosity's latest batch of images: this stunning telephoto view of the base of Mount Sharp, which clearly shows the layers of geological strata that make the mountain's lower elevations such an attractive scientific target:

Feast your eyes on Curiosity's latest photos of Mars, including new telephoto views of Mt. Sharp!

"This is an area on Mount Sharp where Curiosity will go," said Mastcam principal investigator Michael Malin in a statement. He continues:


Those layers are our ultimate objective. The dark dune field is between us and those layers. In front of the dark sand you see redder sand, with a different composition suggested by its different color. The rocks in the foreground show diversity — some rounded, some angular, with different histories. This is a very rich geological site to look at and eventually to drive through.

Up next for Curiosity: a new song by will.i.am (of The Black Eyed Peas) will be broadcast from the surface of Mars via the rover. Watch it live today at 16:00 EDT on NASA TV.

All images via NASA