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Curiosity’s journey in Gediz Vallis approaching its end

Panorama taken on May 1, 2024
Click for original image.

Overview map
Click for interactive map.

Cool image time! The panorama above, cropped, reduced, enhanced, and annotated to post here, was created using 31 pictures taken by Curiosity’s right navigation camera on May 1, 2024. It looks uphill into Gediz Vallis, the slot canyon that the rover has been traversing since August 2022.

The overview map to the right gives the context. The blue dot marks Curiosity’s present position. The red dotted line, on both the panorama and the overview indicate the rover’s planned route, with the white dotted line marking the route it actually traveled. The yellow lines indicate approximate the area covered by the panorama.

Coming into view inside Gediz Vallis is that small outcrop in the center of the canyon that the science team has targeted for inspection for years. It will be the last spot the rover visits in Gediz Vallis before turning west to head uphill in a parallel canyon. To see that route look at the map in this September 2023 post. Curiosity will travel west past two canyons before turning uphill again in the third.

Even then, Curiosity will still be in the low foothills at the base of Mount Sharp. The peak, blocked from view by the mountain’s lower flanks, is still 26 miles away and about 16,000 feet higher up. The journey to get there has really only begun, even after a dozen years exploring Gale Crater.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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