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More from Mars: See the surface of the 'Red Planet' in a new color panorama from Curiosity

 first 360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater Mars


This is the first 360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater landing site taken by NASA's Curiosity rover. The panorama was made from thumbnail versions of images taken by the Mast Camera.

NASA released its first panoramic photo of Mars in full color Thursday, after piecing it together from the newly-landed Curiosity rover.

Mike Malin, the scientist in charge of Curiosity’s cameras, said a trained eye could already see differences in the red planet’s geology based on black and white images that the rover sent, but that color is especially important for everyone else.  

"We’re not sure what the differences are, but they’re real differences and they’re much more easily seen in color," Malin said. "The human perception system can discriminate something on the order of a thousand different colors, but only about 60 different grayscales."

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena plan to debrief more on Friday morning about Curiosity's entry, descent and landing on Mars.