The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released a 3-minute video of a high-resolution panorama of the Martian surface captured by the Curiosity rover.
Commented by Abigail Freiman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Curiosity Deputy Science Leader, the video introduces the viewer to Gale Crater, including Mount Sharp 5 miles (8 km) high.
"Since landing in Gale Crater in 2012, the rover has traveled over 16 miles," says Freiman in the video. And when the image is zoomed in, she adds, "This view is from 1500 feet above our landing site!"
Throughout the video, Freiman notes many stunning panoramic elements, including vast plains of volcanic sand formed by the Martian winds, the unusually clear atmosphere of a Martian winter that allows you to see the rim of the crater about 20 miles away, and some close-up images of rocks and rocks that are now time is analyzed by the rover.
In addition, Freiman says many of the surface texture features found in these close-up images indicate that they were influenced by groundwater.
The story ends with an arrow indicating the next route and target of the rover. This includes a tour of Mount Raphael Navarro, named after one of the mission's scholars who passed away in January.
At the end of the video, Framen emphasizes Curiosity's overall mission and ends on a reassuring note.
"How long did the conditions for life last on Mars?" she asks. "We look forward to finding out."