The Curiosity rover was launched on November 26th, 2011. Since then, the moving laboratory has been investigating the Martian climate, looking for water, and seeking further evidence of microbial life. Here is a great version of rover landing. See how long you can follow the heat shield, as the video is being taken from the rover itself.
Recently the rover was put out of commission due to a solar storm, but in the past 2 weeks it has come back to life, and has brought us these spectacular images. With the help of Curiosity’s two mast cams, an Estonian photographer has created a 4 billion pixel 360 degree panorama of the area surrounding Curiosity. These are screenshots taken from that panorama.
4 Billion Pixels
To make a simple comparison, the standard desktop computer screen you are looking at right now has just over 1.2 million pixels. That is 33,000 times less than the photos of Mars above! We can thank the rover’s 17 high resolution cameras for that!
The most talked about and relevant discovery made by Curiosity thus far is the confirmation of the possibility of running water and microbial life. Recent tests show that Mars could have very well in the past had oceans similar to our Earth and could have looked like this.
Curiosity is set to continue its mission on Mars indefinitely.