<img style="float:left;margin:0 5px 5px 0;" src="https://marsblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/QmSgN3.jpg" />The Stunning Images Of Mars: Curiosity Rover
This is the Curiosity rover. Designed initially to explore the crater Gale on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, and landed inside Gale on Mars on August 6, 2012.
The landing site of the car sized-rover was less than 1 ½” miles from its touchdown target after completing a 350 million mile journey. Its goal was to investigate Martian climate and geology and assess if environmental conditions were favorable for microbial life. It would also go on to conduct planetary habitability studies in preparation for human exploration of Mars.
Curiosity’s two-year mission was would be extended indefinitely and continues to send back images and data to this day. This is a visual tour of its mission.
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This mosaic taken at the rover’s landing site in the Gale Crater was created by using 27 images from its mast-mounted Left Navigation Camera.
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Looking at Curiosity’s landing site in color reveals the gravelly area surface of the Gale Crater. The terrain falls off into a depression and beyond that is the boulder-strewn, red-brown rim of a moderately-sized impact crater. Farther off in the distance, there are dark dunes and then the layered rock at the base of Mount Sharp.
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This image from the Mars Hand Lens Imager camera shows a small bright object on the ground beside the rover. The object is about half an inch long and the rover team believes this object to be debris from the spacecraft, possibly from the events of landing on Mars.
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This is the “Shaler” outcrop taken during the 120th day of Curiosity’s mission. Its dramatically layering patterns suggested evidence of past streamflow in some locations.
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This is a view of the “John Klein” location selected for the first rock drilling by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity taken during the afternoon of the 153rd Martian day of Curiosity’s mission. The veins giving rise to evidence of a wet past are common in the flat-lying rocks of the area.
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Called the “mini drill test,” Curiosity used its drill to generate this ring of powdered rock for inspection in advance of the rover’s first full drilling. Curiosity performed the mini drill test during the 180th Martian day of its mission.
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This is Mount Sharp, also known as Aeolis Mons, its a layered mound in the center of Mars’ Gale Crater, rising more than 3 miles above the floor of the Gale crater. Lower slopes of Mount Sharp were a major destination for the mission where it searched evidence of a past environment favorable for microbial life.
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This the view of an outcrop called “Point Lake.” The outcrop is about 20 inches high and pockmarked with holes. Curiosity recorded the 20 component images for this mosaic on the mission’s 302nd Martian day.
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This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera onboard Curiosity. The images were taken on the 343rd Martian day of the mission. The rover had driven 205 feet the day before to arrive at the location providing this vista. The center of the scene is toward the southwest. A rise topped by two gray rocks near the center of the scene is informally named “Twin Cairns Island.”
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This mosaic of images are from geological members of the Yellowknife Bay formation, and the sites where Curiosity drilled into the lowest-lying member, called Sheepbed, at targets “John Klein” and “Cumberland.” The scene has the Sheepbed mudstone in the foreground and rises up through Gillespie Lake member to the Point Lake outcrop. These rocks record superimposed ancient lake and stream deposits that offered past environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. Rocks here were exposed about 70 million years ago by removal of overlying layers due to erosion by the wind.
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This scene combines images taken during the midafternoon of the mission’s 526th Martian day. The sand dune in the upper center of the image spans a gap, called “Dingo Gap,” between two short scarps.
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This look back at a dune that the Curiosity drove across was taken during the 538th Martian day. The rover had driven over the dune three days earlier.
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The scene combines multiple images taken with both cameras of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Curiosity during its 1,087th Martian day. Taken at the lower slope of Mount Sharp and Spanning from the east, to the southwest it shows Large-scale crossbedding in the sandstone. This is a feature common in petrified sand dunes even on earth.
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Curiosity recorded this view of the sun setting at the close of the mission’s 956th Martian day. This was the first sunset from the martian surfaced, observed in color by Curiosity.