NASA’s Curiosity rover has sent back a stunning postcard from Mars showing the same area of the Red Planet in the morning and afternoon.
The scenic view of the Marker Band Valley was created by uniting two panoramic images of the area curiousity On April 8, 2023 with black and white navigation cameras. One panorama was taken at 9:20 am local time Mars time, while the other picked up at 3:40 p.m. local time.
The image represents the robot’s last view of the area as it moves to continue its ongoing mission, scouring the 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer) Gale Crater in search of traces of organic molecules And other possible indications of the possibility of life on Mars.
Related: Life on Mars: Exploration and Evidence
The newly released postcard image, colorized from the original black and white image, shows the dramatically different lighting conditions in Marker Band Valley, with the morning-afternoon contrast revealing the intricate details of the scene as seen by Curiosity.
Doug Ellison, Curiosity Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, he said in a statement. “Shooting twice a day provides darker shadows because the lighting comes in from the left and right as if you were on stage — but instead of stage lights, we’re relying on the sun.”
Ellison was part of the team that mapped and manipulated the images to create the postcard show. NASA officials said in the statement that blue was added to the image to represent Curiosity’s view of the morning sky, while yellow was added to show its view in the afternoon.
What can be seen in a Curiosity postcard from Mars?
The latest postcard from Curiosity was captured nearly 11 years after the rover first landed on Mars. The image shows the robot’s view from the side of a 3-mile-high (5 km) Martian mountain called Mount Sharp, which rises from the center of Mars. Gail Crater.
As the rover looks back over its shoulder, just behind the track marks is the Marker Band Valley, a zigzag in the “sulphate-bearing zone” where Curiosity detected signs of an ancient lake that existed billions of years ago on the Red Planet. Watery past.
Further, but still from Curiosity’s perspective, are Bolívar and Dipdil hills, and between them is a channel called Paraitepuy Pass. The rover crossed that pass in August 2022, celebrating it The tenth anniversary on Mars. (Curiosity landed in August 2012.)
The shadows that appear in the image are deeper than usual due to the fact that it was taken during Curiosity’s winter season, which also marks a time when there is less airborne dust.
“The shadows of Mars get sharper and deeper when the dust is reduced and softer when there is a lot of dust,” Ellison explained.
Not only does the Curiosity postcard display fascinating details about the surface and geology of Mars. Also seen in the photo are major parts of the robot, including the three antennas, the nuclear power source, and an instrument called the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD).
RAD, shown as a white circle at the bottom right of the image, is collecting data about the Martian radiation environment. This information is of great importance to NASA, which aims to Sending astronauts to Mars In the late 30s or early 40s.
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