Curiosity rover takes a stunning 360° video of Mars
Published : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019 at 12:43 PM Count : 308
NASA’s Curiosity rover has sent back a stunning 360° video from the surface of Mars showing the incredible view from atop the Vera Rubin Ridge.
The video was created from a variety of still images stitched together to form a panorama on December 19 of last year, daily Mail reports.
NASA has just released the footage online and it shows images of Curiosity's next destination, the floor of Gale Crater.
Curiosity's most recent drilling site, dubbed the Rock Hall Drill Hole, can be seen as well as the previous Highfield drill site, and the Gale Crater Rim and Floor.
It also shows Upper Mount Sharp in the distance and the area where Curiosity will be moving to study next, called Glen Toridon, a 'clay-bearing' region.
The term 'clay-bearing' means data from orbiters shows that rocks there contain clay minerals which form in water.
Curiosity's journey and analysis of the Vera Rubin Ridge could help NASA to piece together the story of its formation.
Abigail Fraeman, who has been working on the project, said: 'We've had our fair share of surprises. We're leaving with a different perspective of the ridge than what we had before.'
Equipment on-board the rover found traces of hematite, a mineral rich in iron and often found in places where water is found.
Ms Fraeman said: 'The whole traverse is helping us understand all the factors that influence how our orbiters see Mars.
'Looking up close with a rover allowed us to find a lot more of these hematite signatures. It shows how orbiter and rover science complement one another.'
The rover is now scheduled to leave the ridge behind and study the Glen Torrid - a region that is known to contain clay minerals.
Ashen Vasavada, who also works on the project, said: 'In addition to indicating a previously wet environment, clay minerals are known to trap and preserve organic molecules.
'That makes this area especially promising, and the team is already surveying the area for its next drill site.'
NASA released a similar image almost exactly a year ago showing the top of the Vera Rubin Ridge.
It revealed the landscape of one of our closest galactic neighbours, which has been home to the exploratory vehicle since it landed in Gale Crater in 2012.
One of the on-board cameras captured 16 separate scenic images which were then stitched together to form the sweeping image.