Curiosity rover films Mars panorama of the mission's complete journey

Curiosity rover films Mars panorama of the mission's complete journey

Curiosity rover films Mars panorama of the mission's complete journey

A new self-portrait by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the dusty robot hard at work on the slopes of a towering Red Planet mountain.

"With NASA striving to take humans back to the Moon and onto Mars and beyond, understanding the geologic activity of the planet can aid in future mission planning", David Ferrill of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, explained.

The latest panorama image released by Curiosity team was taken by MastCam on the northern flank of Mount Sharp in October 2017.

If the mountain doesn't quite look like 18,000 feet, that's because Vera Rubin Ridge (named for influential astronomer Vera Rubin) is already located about 1,000 feet (300 meters) on Mount Sharp, making the peak look less intimidating from this angle.

Climbing "Vera Rubin Ridge" provided NASA's Curiosity Mars rover this sweeping vista of the interior and rim of Gale Crater, including much of the rover's route during its first five-and-a-half years on Mars and features up to about 50 miles (85 kilometers) away.

Scientists have been interested in learning about the geological activity of Mars for some time, as Space.com reports, "both for the sake of science and for anyone who might go there".

The selfie is a mosaic composed of dozens of photos captured by Curiosity's Mars Hands Lens Imager, which sits at the end of the rover's 7-foot-long (2.1 m) robotic arm.

NASA plans to launch another lander toward Mars in May 2018. "The mountain's base provides access to layers formed over millions of years", according NASA's JPL. "These layers formed in the presence of water - likely due to a lake or lakes where sediments accumulated, which formed these layers inside Gale Crater".

Curiosity has been roaming Mars since 2012. Next, it'll explore what appears to be a clay-rich slope, while continuing to send back data, photos, and the occasional selfie.

The rover has proved to be a treasure trove of stunning Martian images, sending back over 224,000 snaps since it first arrived on the red planet.

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