The magnificent panoramic view of Mars was captured by Curiosity as she celebrates her ninth “land-versary” on the planet!
In the nine years Curiosity spent on Mars, the rover traveled a total of 16 miles or 26 kilometers and drilled 32 holes. During a recent trek up Mount Sharp, it captured a 360-degree panoramic view which consisted of “knobbly rocks and rounded hills.” The detailed panoramic picture is made up of 129 individual images combined together and can be seen here courtesy of NASA. Along with the pictures, NASA also made a guided tour video of sorts, highlighting the different landscapes that are visible in the picture including the dark Martian sand and the rim of the Gale Crater, 20 miles away in the distance. Since these images were captured in winter, there’s less dust in the air and the nearby structures are clearly visible.
According to the narrator of the Mars tour, the grandiose view was captured about 1500 feet above the landing site of the rover. The image also shows different areas made up of Martian sand on one side and salty minerals on the other. “The mountain’s layers in this area may reveal how the ancient environment within Gale Crater dried up over time,” said NASA.
It seems like Curiosity is on a mission to investigate the past habitability of Mars as similar changes are observed in different parts of the planet and studying those changes would give a better idea to the scientists to the living conditions on Mars. “The rocks here will begin to tell us how this once-wet planet changed into the dry Mars of today, and how long habitable environments persisted even after that happened,” said Abigail Fraeman, Curiosity’s deputy project scientist. With the little curious rover on the case, it’ll be solved in no time.