Simply because you may’t catch a shuttle to Mars fairly but doesn’t imply you may’t nonetheless tour the Crimson Planet. This week, NASA launched a video showcasing a panoramic tour of the planet’s floor utilizing photographs snapped by its Curiosity rover, which celebrates its ninth 12 months on Mars this month.
The rover captured the 360-degree view on July Three close to “Rafael Navarro Mountain,” a hill NASA has nicknamed after an astrobiologist who labored on the mission and handed away in January. The panorama is made up of 129 particular person photographs stitched collectively, and its colours have been white-balanced to duplicate how Mars would seem below the type of daylight we’re used to right here on Earth, NASA stated in a press release. You possibly can take a look at the video tour beneath:
The rover has been puttering concerning the Gale Crater, a 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer-wide) basin on Mars, since first touchdown there in 2012. Round this time of 12 months, the planet’s winter, the signature crimson haze of mud surrounding Mars has cleared up a bit, giving Curiosity a transparent view of the crater’s flooring and the 16 miles (25.7 kilometers) it has traveled over the course of its mission.
These snapshots additionally present some attention-grabbing insights into how the planet’s atmosphere has advanced over thousands and thousands of years. The area that Curiosity beforehand explored was dominated by clay-rich rocks that shaped in lakes, however now it’s discovering rocks crammed with salty minerals referred to as sulfates.
“The rocks right here will start to inform us how this once-wet planet become the dry Mars of in the present day, and the way lengthy liveable environments continued even after that occurred,” stated Abigail Fraeman, Curiosity’s deputy venture scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
It’s inside this historic Martian atmosphere that scientists imagine life could have existed on the planet, which is why Curiosity and NASA’s different Mars rover, Perseverance, are combing the realm for clues. Over the following 12 months, NASA stated Curiosity will enterprise previous Rafael Navarro Mountain and one other mountain that’s taller than a four-story constructing. After that, it is going to enter a slender canyon earlier than revisiting a slope with a sandstone cap nicknamed “Greenheugh Pediment” that it beforehand summited in 2020.