Although the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter are the two devices on Mars with the most coverage on social media and the media, the other Martian rovers continue their scientific tasks non-stop.
Curiosity is one of these robots, and it turned nine years old on the red planet on August 6th. To commemorate the occasion, the latest panorama taken by this device was published.
The panoramic is a video taken on Mount Sharp, also known as Aeolis Mons, which is located on the bed of Gale crater in the Aeolis quadrant. Due to the great weather conditions on the day the panorama was taken, it is possible to see up to 20 kilometers beyond the Curiosity position. However, the image has already undergone slight changes to its hues to make it possible for us to see what Mars would look like under the solar luminosity we are used to on Earth.
The video was published by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab which also shows Curiosity’s ascent trip to the top of Mount Sharp and the detour made to avoid Martian sand (derived from volcanic rock). On the way up, the Jet Propulsion Lab team discovered rocks with more accentuated erosions, which leads to the theory of the existence of a water flow that once existed. Furthermore, these new rocks are rich in sulphites, thus contrasting with the clay rocks that the rover found further down in the Martian crater.
The Jet Propulsion Lab has also revealed the next plans on this mission, which include: continuing the exploration and crossing of Mount Sharp, visiting the next mount higher than a four-story building, and even re-visiting a summit called the Greenheugh Pediment (who had already visited in 2020).
The Curiosity rover has been on Mars for nearly a decade, which turns out to be quite an impressive feat. And although humans still don’t have the possibility to visit Earth’s twin brother, Curiosity will continue to send us photos and new studies that feed a dream that will one day come true.