by Elizabeth Gamillo/Smithsonianmag.com
On July 3, 2021, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover captured astonishing panoramic photos of the Red Planet’s unique landscape on Mount Sharp. The images, later assembled into a tour-like video, reveal that Curiosity had cruised into a region consisting of salty sulfates that transition into another area enriched with clay minerals. The varying layers on Mount Sharp, located in the Gale Crater, may help researchers uncover how Mars became the arid environment it is today, reports Mike Wall for Space.com.
NASA stitched together 129 individual images taken with the rover’s Mast Camera to create 360-degree panoramic vistas that showcase Mars’ landscape history, per Gizmodo’s Alyse Stanley. NASA also color-balanced the photos to display how Mars would look if it had similar light conditions to those on Earth.
Since landing on the Red Planet in August 2012, Curiosity has explored the Gale Crater for nine years to see if Mars had the right conditions to support microbial life at some point in its history. The rover has observed sediment patterns that suggest the Gale Crater housed a lake and stream system billions of years ago. Read More: