Curiosity rover sends a picture postcard from Mars


NASA‘s Curiosity rover has marked the tenth anniversary of its launch to Mars by sending again a spectacular ‘picture postcard’ from the Purple Planet.

The robotic explorer snapped two black and white photographs of the Martian panorama which had been then mixed and had color added to them to provide the exceptional composite.

Curiosity, which launched to the Purple Planet nearly precisely 10 years in the past on November 26, 2011, took the photographs from its most up-to-date perch on the facet of Mars’ Mount Sharp.

It captures a 360-degree view of its environment with its black-and-white navigation cameras every time it completes a drive, earlier than beaming again the panorama to Earth.

So impressed had been the mission group by the fantastic thing about the panorama, they mixed two variations of the black-and-white photographs from totally different instances of the day and added colors to create a uncommon postcard, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) stated. 

Want you had been right here! NASA’s Curiosity rover has marked the tenth anniversary of its launch to Mars by sending again a spectacular ‘picture postcard’ from the Purple Planet (pictured)

The robotic explorer snapped two black and white images of the Martian landscape which were then combined and had colour added to them to produce the remarkable composite

The robotic explorer snapped two black and white photographs of the Martian panorama which had been then mixed and had color added to them to provide the exceptional composite

Curiosity captures a 360-degree view of its surroundings with its black-and-white navigation cameras each time it completes a drive, before beaming back the panorama to Earth

Curiosity captures a 360-degree view of its environment with its black-and-white navigation cameras every time it completes a drive, earlier than beaming again the panorama to Earth

HOW THE CURIOSITY ROVER HAS IMPROVED OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE RED PLANET 

The Mars Curiosity rover was initially launched from Cape Canaveral, an American Air Drive station in Florida on November 26, 2011. 

After embarking on a 350 million mile (560 million km) journey, the £1.8 billion ($2.5 billion) analysis automobile touched down just one.5 miles (2.4 km) away from the earmarked touchdown spot.

After a profitable touchdown on August sixth, 2012, the rover has travelled about 11 miles (18 km). 

It launched on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft and the rover constituted 23 per cent of the mass of the full mission. 

With 80 kg (180 lb) of scientific devices on board, the rover weighs a complete of 899 kg (1,982 lb) and is powered by a plutonium gas supply. 

The rover is 2.9 metres (9.5 ft) lengthy by 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) broad by 2.2 metres (7.2 ft) in top.

The rover was initially supposed to be a two-year mission to collect info to assist reply if the planet might help life, has liquid water, examine the local weather and the geology of Mars.  

As a result of its success, the mission has been prolonged indefinitely and has now been energetic for over 3,000 days.

In a assertion, the group stated: ‘Most of the rover’s most gorgeous panoramas are from the colour Mastcam instrument, which has far increased decision than the navigation cameras. 

‘That is why the group added colours of their very own to this newest picture. 

‘The blue, orange, and inexperienced tints are usually not what the human eye would see; as a substitute, they symbolize the scene as considered at totally different instances of day.’ 

Curiosity took the pictures at two totally different instances on November 16: the primary at 8:30 and the second at 16:10 native Mars time. 

This supplied contrasting lighting circumstances that introduced out a number of panorama particulars, JPL stated.

The group then mixed the 2 scenes in a creative re-creation that features parts from the morning scene in blue, the afternoon scene in orange, and a mixture of each in inexperienced. 

On the centre of the picture is the view again down Mount Sharp, or Aeolis Mons, a mountain that types the central peak of Gale Crater. 

Curiosity has been driving up the three mile (5km) tall mountain since 2014. 

Rounded hills will be seen within the distance at centre-right and a area of sand ripples often called the ‘Sands of Forvie’ stretches a quarter to a half-mile (400 to 800m) away.

On the far proper of the panorama is the craggy ‘Rafael Navarro Mountain,’ named after a Curiosity group scientist who died earlier this 12 months.

Poking up behind it’s the higher a part of Mount Sharp, far above the realm Curiosity is exploring.

Mount Sharp lies inside Gale Crater, a 96 mile (154km) broad basin shaped by an historic impression.

Gale Crater’s distant rim stands 7,500ft tall (2.3km), and is seen on the horizon about 18 to 25 miles away (30 to 40km).

The Curiosity mission is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California.

It’s not the latest rover on Mars — that honour belongs to Perseverance, which arrived with NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter in February this 12 months and is trying to find historic microbial life on the Purple Planet.

Final week Perseverance collected its third Martian sample, this time from a rock ‘loaded with the greenish mineral olivine’.

The rover carries 43 titanium tubes, and because it finds a piece of rock of curiosity, it hundreds the pattern into one in all these tubes for later assortment. 

Billions of years in the past, again to the earliest days of the photo voltaic system, the Jezero crater that Perseverance is scouting harboured a lake and river delta, making it a good place to seek for indicators of ‘life’.

NASA plans a mission to carry round 30 samples again to Earth within the 2030s, the place scientists will be capable to conduct extra detailed evaluation which may affirm there was microbial life.

Nonetheless, Perseverance itself will not be bringing the samples again to Earth — when the rover reaches a appropriate location, the tubes will dropped on the floor of Mars to be collected by a future retrieval mission, which is presently being developed. 

Curiosity (pictured), which launched to Mars almost exactly 10 years ago on November 26, 2011, took the pictures from its most recent perch on the side of the Red Planet's Mount Sharp

Curiosity (pictured), which launched to Mars nearly precisely 10 years in the past on November 26, 2011, took the photographs from its most up-to-date perch on the facet of the Purple Planet’s Mount Sharp 

As soon as Perseverance collects samples from Mars, it should drop them at a appropriate location on the floor of Mars to be collected by a future retrieval mission, presently being developed. 

NASA and ESA plan to launch two extra spacecraft that would go away Earth in 2026 and attain Mars in 2028.

The primary will deploy a small rover, which is able to make its technique to Perseverance, decide up the crammed sampling tubes and switch them to a ‘Mars ascent automobile’ — a small rocket.

This rocket will blast off – within the course of turning into the primary object launched from the floor of Mars – and place the container into Martian orbit, which means it should primarily be floating in house.

At this level, the third and ultimate spacecraft concerned within the tough operation will manoeuvre itself subsequent to the pattern container, decide it up and fly it again to Earth.

Offering its re-entry into the Earth’s environment is profitable, it should plummet to the bottom at a navy coaching floor in Utah in 2031, which means the Martian samples will not be studied for an additional 10 years.

WHAT EVIDENCE DO SCIENTISTS HAVE FOR LIFE ON MARS?

The seek for life on different planets has captivated mankind for many years.

However the actuality could possibly be a little much less just like the Hollywood blockbusters, scientists have revealed.

They are saying if there was life on the pink planet, it in all probability will current itself as fossilized micro organism – and have proposed a new technique to search for it.

Listed here are essentially the most promising indicators of life to this point –

Water 

When searching for life on Mars, specialists agree that water is essential.

Though the planet is now rocky and barren with water locked up in polar ice caps there might have been water prior to now.

In 2000, scientists first noticed proof for the existence of water on Mars.

The Nasa Mars World Surveyor discovered gullies that might have been created by flowing water.

The controversy is ongoing as as to if these recurring slope lineae (RSL) might have been shaped from water circulate.

Meteorites 

Earth has been hit by 34 meteorites from Mars, three of that are believed to have the potential to hold proof of previous life on the planet, writes Space.com.

In 1996, specialists discovered a meteorite in Antarctica often called ALH 84001 that contained fossilised bacteria-like formations.

Nonetheless, in 2012, specialists concluded that this natural materials had been shaped by volcanic exercise with out the involvement of life.

Indicators of Life 

The primary close-ups of the planet had been taken by the 1964 Mariner 4 mission.

These preliminary photographs confirmed that Mars has landforms that might have been shaped when the local weather was a lot wetter and subsequently house to life.

In 1975, the primary Viking orbiter was launched and though inconclusive it paved the best way for different landers.

Many rovers, orbiters and landers have now revealed proof of water beneath the crust and even occasional precipitation.

Earlier this 12 months, Nasa’s Curiosity rover discovered potential constructing blocks of life in an historic Martian lakebed.

The natural molecules preserved in 3.5 billion-year-old bedrock in Gale Crater — believed to have as soon as contained a shallow lake the scale of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee — recommend circumstances again then could have been conducive to life.

Future missions to Mars plan on bringing samples again to Earth to check them extra totally.

Methane 

In 2018, Curiosity additionally confirmed sharp seasonal will increase of methane within the Martian environment.

Consultants stated the methane observations present ‘one of the vital compelling’ instances for present-day life.

Curiosity’s methane measurements occurred over four-and-a-half Earth years, protecting elements of three Martian years.

Seasonal peaks had been detected in late summer season within the northern hemisphere and late winter within the southern hemisphere. 

The magnitude of those seasonal peaks – by a issue of three – was excess of scientists anticipated.



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