NASA Rover shares incredible 360 degree ‘selfie’ from the surface of Mars
NASA has shared an amazing 360-degree photo taken by the Curiosity Rover on Mars.
The rover has been on the red planet for six years, and the image shows a thin layer of crimson dust on the vehicle.
Take a look at a 360º panorama of Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars, taken as the @MarsCuriosity rover surveyed its surroundings on the Red Planet during the fading global dust storm. Included is a view of the rover itself, revealing a thin layer of dust on it: https://t.co/mbNpnAUrGI pic.twitter.com/HQcmcCAnhi
— NASA (@NASA) September 7, 2018
The image was taken on August 8th when, after collecting a new rock sample on Vera Rubin Ridge, the rover celebrated by taking a quick snap on its surroundings.
The image shows umber skies, darkened by a fading global dust storm.
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) September 6, 2018
NASA also uploaded an interactive version on YouTube, giving a small glimpse of what it would be like to be stood on the surface on Mars.
The successful collection of rock samples was a particular achievement for the Curisoity team, as their last two attempts to do so were scuppered by the drill hitting hard rock.
Even NASA team members were impressed by the variety in colour and texture in the region. "The ridge isn't this monolithic thing -- it has two distinct sections, each of which has a variety of colors," said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "Some are visible to the eye and even more show up when we look in near-infrared, just beyond what our eyes can see. Some seem related to how hard the rocks are."
The Curosity rover was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26th, 2011, and landed in the Aeolis Palus plain near Aeolis Mons in Gale Crater in August of the following year. Its role is to investigate the planets' climate and geology - and in particular, find out if the Gale Crater ever had the right conditions to sustain life. It is also studying the environment in preparation for potential future manned missions to Mars.
In December 2012, the rover's two-year mission was extended indefinitely.
It is not the only NASA rover on the planet - the Opportunity is on the other side of Mars, doing similar investigations.