The Curiosity Rover، which is currently on Martian soil، just snapped a selfie and sent it back home to Earth — along with a breathtaking panoramic shot of the red planet،as the Technical Times said.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory shared the said photo this week، taken by the rover while it roamed the Vera Rubin Ridge and featuring Mount Sharp far behind. Rover has been gallivanting around the Red planet for five years in a mission to study the nether regions of Mount Sharp and its "clay-rich" slopes.
"The mountain's base provides access to layers formed over millions of years،" said JPL. "These layers formed in the presence of water — likely due to a lake or lakes that sat at the bottom of the mountain، which sits inside Gale Crater." Ultimately، what it's really there for is to study whether Martian soil is apt for human exploration — and eventually settlement and colonization. There's been increased interest in going to Mars of late، with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk one of the optometrist arguing it could be a habitable planet.
But Martian ambitions aside، the Curiosity Rover selfie، which can be seen above، is actually made up of various images stitched up to form one whole photo. It was captured on Jan. 23 by the rover's Mars Hands Lens Imager، which isn't seen in the shot because it was positioned out of frame in the final mosaic.
Along with the selfie، NASA also shared the aforementioned panoramic shot of Mars، the footage resembling that of a scene from a big-budget sci-fi movie. Needless to say، it was glorious، and to see such a detailed and vivid look of the Red planet is a sight to behold.
The panorama was captured three months ago by the rover's Mast Camera. It features the 11-mile journey the Curiosity Rover has made since landing in the Gale Crater back in 2012.
"From our perch on Vera Rubin Ridge، the vast plains of the crater floor stretch out to the spectacular mountain range that forms the northern rim of Gale Crater،" said Ashwin Vasavada، NASA JPL's Curiosity project scientist.
The rocks in the video are the same color as that of Earth's because it's been white-balanced to aid geologists، according to JPL. You can watch the stunning panorama below. If you have thoughts or anything to share، feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!