Working with the Mars Curiosity PDS Site

Each month, the PRPDC features one component of the Planetary Data System (PDS). Here we focus on one of the data sets presented by the Geosciences PDS Node at Washington University, where they have created an easy way to view and download all of the images from the Mars Curiosity Rover. Curiosity landed in Gale Crater in August 2012, and is now making its way to the base of Mt. Sharp, which is a ~5 km high hill in the middle of the crater. Image #1 shows the entry point to the PDS web site.

The first thing to do is to look at the path of Curiosity (the yellow line with red dots on it), which is shown in Image #1. Click on any of the red dots, which correspond to each of the Sols, or days since the start of the mission when Curiosity landed. That brings up the box called "1. Location found". Image #2 shows you what to do next.

Image #2 shows a good place to start your search for images. Most people will find that the most interesting things to look at are the camera mosaics. When you get to a screen that corresponds to Image #2, click at Pt. 1, and then look at Pt. 2, which is a new window that opens up showing the day of the mission which are available for your selected Sol. Image #3 shows you what to do next.

When you are at Image #3, click at Pt. 1, which brings up a list of data sets from the Sol. Note the highlighted box called "moasics" at Pt.2. Go to Image #4 for what to do next.

At Image #4, you will see a list of available data sets for this Sol. The mosaics are at the bottom of the list (highlighted in yellow in this image). Click on this line, and you will find that thumbnail versions of the available mosaics will appear. Go to Image #5 for what to do next.

At Image #5, you can (1) click on any of the thumbnails of the mosaics for this Sol. When you do this, at (2) a new small window appears. If you like this mosaic, at (3) you can click on the line called "Switch to mosaic view" to view this scene at full resolution. Note that you may need to scroll down to see this. Go to Image #6 for what to do next.

Some useful information in Image #6, which provides an example of a full resolution mosaic. Technical details of the image are given at top left, and the box at top right shows the field of view in this image. At left is the zoom function, which is shown in Image #7.

In Image #7, we can zoom around the mosaic as much as we want. If you like this mosaic, you can download the full resolution version by going to the place identified in Image #8.

In Image #8, you return to the window that we first saw in Image #5. You can do this by clicking the back arrow twice for the web page (i.e., at top left of the browser page). Click on the blue down arrow called "Quick download" at bottom left. You should then scroll down to the bottom of this window. Click on the blue down-arrow under "Download Product". This image will be a large (~4 - 15 MB) jpeg file that you can open in popular image software such as Photoshop.

You may also want to explore this site some more. Image #9 show how you can sort the Curiosity images by Sol number (i.e., days since the start of the mission). You can see where the rover was at the start of that day, what the rover plans for the day were, as well as the instruments that they planned to use that day.

Now that you have discovered how you can access all of the Curiosity images, you can click here to go straight to the Washington University at St. Louis' PDS site to get your own data.

For More Information:

University of Hawaii NASA PRPDC

Phone: (808) 956-3132

Email: prpdc @