The red planet is an alien world, and though it may have once held life, it’s certainly no Earth. But that’s to a recent mammoth panorama shot by Curiosity we can get a glimpse of what it would be life if one of Mars’ mountains was transplanted here to ol’ Terra.
Using its MastCam, Curiosity shot a panorama of Mars’ 3-mile high Mount Sharp (aka Aeolis Mons) as it rolled by a few months ago. And the whole thing has been white-balanced to show what it might look like if it was on Earth.
[The image] shows Mount Sharp in a white-balanced colour adjustment that makes the sky look overly blue but shows the terrain as if under Earth-like lighting. White-balancing helps scientists recognise rock materials based on their experience looking at rocks on Earth. The Martian sky would look more of a butterscotch colour to the human eye. White balancing yields an overly blue hue in images that have very little blue information, such as Martian landscapes, because the white balancing tends to overcompensate for the low inherent blue content.
What you see above is but a bit-sized chunk of the whole panorama. You can see the entire, hulking, annoyingly-horizontal image where NASA has it tucked away. Or take a look at the far more alien-looking original.