[우주를 보다] Postcard from Mars… Scenery captured by NASA Curiosity



▲ Beautiful scenery on the surface of Mars. This photo was taken by Curiosity at the foot of Mount Saf. Photo=NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has sent us a new image of Mars’ amazing and expansive landscape. Curiosity, which started as a red planet on November 26, 2011, almost exactly ten years ago, is still prosperous to roam the surface of Mars.

Curiosity recently explored Mars’ Mount Sharp, the mountain that forms the central peak of Gale Crater, the fringes of Aiolis Mons. There, the mission team members were able to see the beautiful view of Mars captured by Curiosity’s navigation camera.

▲ Scenery of Mars’ surface captured at different times with a navigation camera equipped with Curiosity. Photo = NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, “We took landscapes at different times of the day, combined two versions of black-and-white images, and colored them to create a rare postcard from the red planet.”

Curiosity is not the newest Mars rover. It can be said that it is considerably older than NASA’s Perseverance Rover on February 18, 2021. However, since landing in August 2012, Curiosity has been passionately collecting valuable scientific data and surprising images during extensive expeditions to the Martian surface. The rover is in good health by this time, exactly 10 years after launch.

The Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity’s exploration of the region revealed that Martian water did not disappear all at once. Photo=NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

Curiosity landed inside Gale Crater to study the possibility that the crater could have housed life in the past. Here, the probe discovered lakes and streams, and two years after the mission, it reached the foot of Mount Sharp, 8 km high in the center of the crater. The rover has traveled more than 26 kilometers on the Red Planet in 10 years, climbing more than 460 meters above the point where it originally landed in the crater.

Last August, Curiosity arrived in a new area. This area is rich in minerals and rocks, providing information about the Martian climate, and has long attracted the attention of scientists.

Curiosity, which started on the 26th, but celebrates its 10th anniversary, is about 3m long, 2.7m wide, and weighs about 1t, and after traveling for 8 months, it arrived in Hwaseong on August 6th, 2012. A total of $2.5 billion (about 2.8 trillion won) was invested in the Curiosity Project, officially named ‘Mars Science Laboratory’ (MSL). The planned expedition period was two years, but 10 years later, the mission has been extended.

Columnist Lee Kwang-sik [email protected]

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