The first view of the Mars surface larger than 1 billion pixels offers armchair explorers a way to examine one part of the Red Planet in great detail, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Wednesday.
The 1.3-billion-pixel image is available on the Internet for perusal with pan and zoom tools at http://mars.nasa.gov/bp1/, JPL said.
The full-circle image is of the site where Curiosity collected its first scoops of dusty sand at a windblown patch called "Rocknest" and features Mount Sharp on the horizon.
"It gives a sense of place and really shows off the cameras' capabilities," Bob Deen of JPL's Multi-Mission Image Processing Laboratory said. "You can see the context and also zoom in to see very fine details."
Deen said the image was assembled using 850 frames from the telephoto camera of Curiosity's Mast Camera instrument, supplemented with 21 frames from the Mastcam's wider-angle camera and 25 black-and-white frames -- mostly of the rover itself -- from the Navigation Camera.