The Curiosity rover has been exploring the Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars for greater than a yr now, and it’s time for the explorer to maneuver on to new areas of the planet. However earlier than it departs, Curiosity has captured a 360 video of its last drill web site — an space that scientists have nicknamed “Rock Corridor.” The video is a composite of photographs taken in a panoramic type on December 19, 2018, which you’ll be able to transfer round to get a sense of what the view is like from the rover:
In the event you can’t watch the video, then a picture of the panorama is embedded under as effectively:
This panorama was taken on Dec. 19 (Sol 2265) by the Mast Digicam (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. The rover’s final drill location on Vera Rubin Ridge is seen, in addition to the clay area it can spend the subsequent yr exploring. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
In each the video and the picture, you may see the floor of Mars and the horizon. The photographs don’t seize the rover itself (although Curiosity’s companion InSight has taken a selfie prior to now if you wish to see that) or the sky, as these are usually not the main focus of Curiosity’s analysis. Although you may see Curiosity’s drill and options of the terrain like the latest drilling web site, the Rock Corridor Drill Gap, in addition to the earlier Highfield drill web site, and the Gale Crater Rim and Flooring. You too can see Higher Mount Sharp within the distance and the realm the place Curiosity will probably be shifting to check subsequent, known as the “clay-bearing unit.”
Throughout its time on the Vera Rubin Ridge, Curiosity made some surprising discoveries in regards to the geology of the realm. “We’ve had our fair proportion of surprises,” Curiosity science staff member Abigail Fraeman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, mentioned in an announcement. “We’re leaving with a unique perspective of the ridge than what we had earlier than.” For instance, Curiosity confirmed the presence within the bedrock of hematite, an iron-rich mineral which regularly types in water, suggesting that previously there was groundwater on some elements of the ridge.
A crop of the Curiosity’s 360 picture, displaying the sting of the rover and the Martian floor. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
The rover is now shifting on to a trough between the ridge and the remainder of the mountain known as Glen Torridon. It’s known as “clay-bearing” as a result of knowledge from orbiters reveals that rocks there comprise clay minerals which type in water. Scientists hope to be taught extra in regards to the historical lakes that shaped within the space by analyzing the rocks in higher element.