[imagesource: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS]
While life on Mars in the future is still a bit of a pipe dream, NASA’s Mars rovers, Curiosity and Perseverance, are combing the red planet for clues that life may have existed there once before.
Images from the red planet have provided some mystery and intrigue for some time now, with a few wild assumptions about what that rock with a face might really be.
But I’ve always thought the scientific explanations are far more fascinating.
Thus, the newly released NASA video providing a 360-degree panoramic tour of the planet’s surface is quite remarkable.
Using 129 individual images stitched together after being snapped by the Curiosity rover (which has now been on Mars for nine years), we get to see a full view of the “Rafael Navarro Mountain” and beyond, reports Gizmodo.
The hill was nicknamed by NASA after an astrobiologist who worked on the mission and passed away in January.
As it’s winter on mars, the atmosphere is unaffected by the usual red dust, so we get to see a substantially clearer view of the crater’s floor and the 25,7 kilometres that the rover has travelled over the course of its mission.
NASA also mentioned that the colours were white-balanced to replicate how Mars would appear under the kind of daylight we’re used to here on Earth.
Most interesting is getting an idea of how Mars’ environment has evolved over millions of years, which Abigail Fraeman, Curiosity’s deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, elaborates on:
“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”.
Take it all in:
We’re looking forward to seeing what Curiosity will discover beyond Rafael Navarro Mountain and the narrow canyon that it will putter down next.
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