Mars 360 – Curiosity rover continues to wow with stunning panorama!
The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity landed on the surface of Mars in August of 2012 and has produced an array of stunning imagery since then. The nuclear-powered, one-ton rover has helped redefine how humanity views the Red Planet – and is paving the way for NASA’s “Journey to Mars”. The space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently unveiled a 360-degree panorama of the robot’s current location, allowing viewers to stop and appreciate the jaw-dropping vistas that comprise Curiosity’s current workplace.
Located in the “Bagnold Dunes”, one of the more primary features in the panorama are the dark sands of the “Namib Dune”. In the distance, one can see a bit of Mount Sharp, the peak at the center of Curiosity’s home – Gale Crater. “Bagnold Fields” is located along Mount Sharp’s northwestern flank.
According to NASA, images acquired by the orbiting Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) instrument have shown that the Bagnold field moves as much as 3 feet (1 meter) per Earth year.
Snapped on Dec. 18, 2015, via Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam), the 360 video allows viewers to survey the sands of Mars as if they, themselves, were there. Some 1,197 sols into its mission, Curiosity has already surpassed its planned initial primary two-year mission. The rover lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida in Nov. 26, 2011, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket (AV-028).
Video courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.