March: Curiosity just took the best photo of the year

This latest shot courtesy of NASA is one of the best we’ve ever seen.

As Curiosity continues to dig for traces of life, mission engineers ordered the rover to take these images on November 16, 2021. Using its navigation cameras, the vehicle took two composite images capturing the same scene in the morning and late afternoon local time in March.

Colorful photo taken by NASA's Curiosity rover from Mars - Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Colorful photo taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover from Mars – Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The images, which were released by the space agency on Tuesday, show the view of the rover from the top of a Martian mountain called Mount Sharp.

A breathtaking view of the environment traversed for 10 years

« In the center of the image is the view of the Mont Sharp, the 5 kilometer high mountain that Curiosity has been climbing since 2014. Rounded hills can be seen in the distance in the center right; Curiosity got a closer look at them in July, when the rover began to see some intriguing changes in the landscape. A field of sand ripples known as ” Sands of Forvie »Stretches for 400 to 800 meters. »

« To the far right of the panorama is the “ Rafael Navarro mountain Steep, named after a scientist from the Curiosity team who died earlier this year. Behind is the top of Mount Sharp, well above the area that Curiosity is exploring. Mount Sharp is located inside the Gale crater, a 154-kilometer-wide basin formed by an ancient impact; The far rim of Gale Crater is 2.3 kilometers in length and can be seen on the horizon about 30 to 40 kilometers away. »

See also> A video provides an overview of the 13th flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars

An artistic work based on two clichés

As NASA explains, “ the two hours of the day provided contrasting lighting conditions that brought out a variety of landscape details. »

The team then combined the two scenes in an artistic reinterpretation which contains elements of the morning and evening plans.

Morning shot - Credits: NASA / JPL-CaltechMorning shot - Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Morning shot – Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Shooting at 5:00 p.m. local time - Credits: NASA / JPL-CaltechShooting at 5:00 p.m. local time - Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Shooting at 5:00 p.m. local time – Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech

A lot of work has been done upstream to obtain such a rendering. Blue, orange and green were added to a combination of the panoramas for an artistic interpretation of the scene.

An unmissable opportunity

« Curiosity captures a 360-degree view of its surroundings with its black and white navigation cameras every time it completes a ride. To make it easier to send the resulting panorama to Earth, the rover keeps it in a low-quality compressed format. But when the rover team saw the view from Curiosity’s most recent stopping point, the scene was just too good not to capture it with the highest quality that navigation cameras are capable of. »

Tomorrow it will be 10 years since the Rover Curiosity left Earth. It was November 26, 2011. And 2021 alone has been a particularly productive year for Martian photos. On September 12, Curiosity even shared a video with us. And we never tire of it.

Source : NASA


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