Click for original image.
The Curiosity science team yesterday released a new 360 panorama taken on August 19, 2023 by the rover’s high resolution camera, as part of an effort to document an important geological location finally reached after two previous attempts failed.
Three billion years ago, amid one of the last wet periods on Mars, powerful debris flows carried mud and boulders down the side of a hulking mountain. The debris spread into a fan that was later eroded by wind into a towering ridge [dubbed Gediz Vallis Ridge], preserving an intriguing record of the Red Planet’s watery past.
Now, after three attempts, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has reached the ridge, capturing the formation in a 360-degree panoramic mosaic. Previous forays were stymied by knife-edged “gator-back” rocks and too-steep slopes. Following one of the most difficult climbs the mission has ever faced, Curiosity arrived Aug. 14 at an area where it could study the long-sought ridge with its 7-foot (2-meter) robotic arm.
That panorama can be viewed here. The rover spent eleven days at this geological location, and has since moved on.
Because that panorama covers some of the same ground I have previously posted from the rover’s navigation cameras, I have instead posted above the graphic from the press release, with additional annotations, because that graphic provides new information about Curiosity’s future travels.
The white line marks Curiosity’s past travels as well as the planned route as previously released by the science team. The red line marks the additional route that the rover will follow beyond, weaving its way up Mount Sharp.
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