US space agency NASA has shared a new video of an incredible high-quality panoramic photo of the Mars landscape taken by its Curiosity rover.
In the video, Curiosity’s deputy project scientist, Abigail Fraeman, gives viewers a descriptive tour of Curiosity’s location at the moment of taking the photo on the red planet.
The panorama was taken on 3 July 2021, the 3,167th Martian day of its mission, using its Mast Camera.
It shows the rover’s view from its climb up Mount Sharp, an 8-km tall mountain in the centre of the Gale crater.
Scenery from the image includes wide and close-up views of the side of the mountain, a number of large hills, a flat area filled with black Martian sand, and mountains in the distance at the edge of the crater.
Fraeman said the image can teach researchers more about how Mars lost its water over time.
One notable observation was the clear winter sky, which allowed the camera to see right to the crater’s edge, around 32km away.
Below are stills that show different parts of the panoramic image.
Curiosity has travelled more than 25km since landing in the Gale crater in August 2012.
The rover’s excursions have been key to several major discoveries about Mars.
Soon after its landing, Curiosity found smooth, rounded pebbles that scientists believe likely rolled downstream in ankle to hip-deep river millions of years ago.
Analysis of drilling samples collected by the rover has also revealed that Mars has the right chemistry to support living microbes.
The rover found sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon — key ingredients to support life.
Curiosity is one of two active US rovers on the red planet.
NASA’s newest Mars rover, Perseverance, touched down in the Jezero crater, about 3,700 kilometres away from Curiosity’s location, in February 2021.
China’s Zhurong Mars rover recently also completed its 90-day mission in an area known as Utopia Planitia, where it landed on 14 May 2021.
Below is the full video showing the panoramic photo taken by Curiosity.