NASA's Mars Curiosity rover shares new panorama as it climbs Mount Sharp

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,624   +139
Staff member
The big picture: Curiosity isn’t just a sight-seeing expedition. One of the project’s main goals is to study the environment to learn more about how Mars’ climate changed over time. “The rocks here will begin to tell us how this once-wet planet changed into the dry Mars of today, and how long habitable environments persisted even after that happened,” said Curiosity Deputy Project Scientist Abigail

As we humans grapple with the possibility (or impossibility) of extraterrestrials visiting Earth, NASA has essentially been doing the same thing on other planets for decades now. Take nearby neighbor Mars, for example.

NASA’s Curiosity rover left our home planet in late 2011 and touched down on the Red Planet in August 2012. The car-sized rover has since spent nearly a decade traversing the rocky surface of Mars, driving more than 16 miles in the process and sending back detailed images of everything it’s seen along the way.

In a recent video published on YouTube, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shared a fascinating panorama showcasing the rover’s current position 1,500 feet above the landing site on Mount Sharp.

From this vantage point, we get a solid look of a darker region of sand created from broken pieces of volcanic rock. Fraeman also points out how clear the air is due to it being winter on Mars, allowing us to see to the rim of Gale crater roughly 20 miles away.

Aside from a brief scare in 2019, Curiosity has been performing as expected. So long as that continues to be the case, NASA will likely keep using the rover to learn as much as it can about the Red Planet. Its predecessor, Opportunity, managed to survive for more than 14 years before it finally bit the bullet and was declared dead in 2019.

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VitalyT

Posts: 6,034   +6,404
If these were shot in Wadi Rum, you wouldn't know the difference.
That's where The Martian movie was shot, by the way.

We need to start shipping prisoners to Mars to build tunnels. We'll pay them in food and oxygen.
Throw in a couple of hundred bucks, and it'll be exactly what the US has been doing for its Corona-striken population. They skipped the Mars part.

I'd like to add that while I'm all pro-research in theoretical physics and such, but spending billions to drill holes in the neighboring planet, ...I don't believe anything good will come out of those, neither figuratively nor actually.
 
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mailpup

Posts: 7,701   +777
TS Special Forces
We need to start shipping prisoners to Mars to build tunnels. We'll pay them in food and oxygen.
It's been postulated that there are volcanic lava tubes in which people can live for protection from radiation. Of course, they'll have to find them first.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 676   +509
If these were shot in Wadi Rum, you wouldn't know the difference.
That's where The Martian movie was shot, by the way.

Having had the privilege or trekking about Wadi Rum for about 4 days - just set off with 20L of water , dry food and a sleeping bag - I know the difference - Petra was great - but really enjoyed Wadi Rum more . Yeah Sossusvlei walked to the top of the apricot bad boy .

Anyway for the Americans here - your 4 corners in absolutely stunning - lots of wildlife at dusk and dawn and night time - the smells of sage, creosote especially after rain is just divine.
What an adventure - fill up and hike Canyonlands - just don't step on the cryptosporidium ( was not take easy ) - also from memory needed to P X yards from water sources - kind of hard if in a canyon
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,318   +534
We need to start shipping prisoners to Mars to build tunnels. We'll pay them in food and oxygen.

Well, that's what British did with Australia and America. Why would we assume that Martian people would wanna stay under Earth control, once they develop enough technology and population? Why would they allow Earthlings to come there and use those tunnels? They could rebel and claim their planet.

If we wanna be safe we should send robots. And I mean the primitive ones, that cannot self-improve or evolve in any way.