A March day – called a “sun” – is a little longer than a day on Earth and clocks in at just over 24 hours and 39 minutes. Researchers trace Curiosity’s activities based on the sun. For example, raw photos taken by the rover are marked with the sun number, so a photo taken on the anniversary would be marked with “Sun 3000” as well as the corresponding earth date.
NASA marked the special occasion with the release of a glorious panorama on Tuesday. The scenic mosaic view of Gale Crater on Mars shows part of Mount Sharp, the massive central mountain inside the crater. “Geologists were fascinated by seeing a series of rock benches in the latest panorama from the mission,” NASA said in a statement.
The sweeping panorama is made of 122 images that the rover snapped on November 18, 2020, which was Mars’ sun 2946.
Curiosity is currently heading towards an area of the crater known as the “sulfate-bearing unit.” “Sulfates, like gypsum and epsom salts, are usually formed around water as it evaporates, and they are another clue to how the climate and outlook for life changed nearly 3 billion years ago,” NASA said when describing rovers journey to this new area. .
NASA’s only functioning Mars rover will soon be joined on the planet by its next-siblings, whenarriving in February. Prolonged curiosity will continue to pursue its mission to investigate the old environmental conditions on the red planet.
Here are the next 3,000 suns.
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