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January 5 2013

Curiosity rover studies rocks and a 'flower' on Mars

The cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover have been clicking away over the holidays gathering enough pictures for a 360-degree panorama of its rocky surroundings at Yellowknife Bay, plus a close-up view showing a "Martian flower" seemingly sprouting from the surface.

The panorama was assembled from pictures snapped by the rover's navigation camera system on the 132nd Martian day of Curiosity's mission on the Red Planet, also known as Sol 132 or Dec. 19.

In this case, the folks doing the assembling are Ken Kremer, a New Jersey-based journalist, research chemist and photographer; and Marco Di Lorenzo, a physicist who's a high-school educator and photographer in Italy. They stitched together the black-and-white images, filled in the gaps in the Martian sky and colorized the scene to reflect what an observer on Mars might see.

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