On August 17th, 2021, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), released a nearly 3-minute video featuring a high-definition panorama of the Martian surface shot by the administration’s Curiosity Rover.
The video, which is narrated by Curiosity’s Deputy Project Scientist, Abigail Fraeman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, takes the viewer on a tour of Gale Crater, including an up-close look at the 5-mile (8km) tall Mount Sharp.
“The rover has driven over 16 miles since landing in Gale Crater in 2012,” says Fraeman in the video. And, as the image expands she adds, “This view is from 1,500 feet above our landing site!”
Throughout the dazzling video, Fraeman points out numerous stunning elements of the panorama, including vast plains of volcanic sand shaped by the Martian winds, the unusually clear atmosphere of the Martian winter that facilitates views of the crater’s rim some 20 miles away, and some up-close images of the material currently under analysis by the hearty rover.
Also, says Fraeman, many of the textured surface features found in these up-close images seem to indicate they were formed in the presence of groundwater.
The dazzling visuals and spirited narration ends with a highlighted path showing the rover’s next route and targets. This includes a look at “Rafael Navarro Mountain,” named for one of the mission’s scientists who passed away in January.
Near the video’s conclusion, Fraemen highlights the overall mission of Curiosity, while closing on a hopeful note.
“How long did conditions that were favorable to life last?” she asks. “We’re looking forward to finding out.”
Follow and connect with author Christopher Plain on Twitter: @plain_fiction
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