Since 2014, slowly but steadily climbed the 3 mile high Mount Sharp, located in the middle of Gale Crater. NASA on Tuesday revealed new images of the rover which were captured earlier this month.
On March 16 and 26, Curiosity took 60 images using the Mars Hand Lens Imager on its robotic arm and 11 using its Mastcam, located on its “head”. He captured an impressive rock formation called Mont Mercou – named after a mountain in southeastern France.
In the selfies, as well as in a pair of majestic panoramas that accompany it, taken on March 4, Mont Mercou is visible to the left of the rover. The formation is 20 feet high.
” Wish you were Here! »The rover tweeted with the selfie.
Using his drill, Curiosity acquired anear the formation – the 30th sample collected to date. NASA scientists named the sample Nontron, after a French village near Mont Mercou.
Names were chosen for this part of the mission because Mars orbiters previously detected nontronite, a type of iron-rich clay mineral found near the French town in the region.
The rover’s drill turned the sample into dust and returned it safely inside its body for further study using its internal instruments. Scientists hope to learn more about the rock’s makeup – and possibly uncover the secrets of the planet’s past.
The sample was collected during the rover’s transition from the “clay unit” to the “sulphated unit” of its ascent – an area scientists believe could reveal how Mars went from aplanet billions of years ago to the frozen desert planet it is today.
Until perseveranceJust over a month ago, Curiosity was the only rover currently active on the Red Planet. The two rovers are located approximately 2,300 miles from each other.
Perseverance is now busy preparing the Ingenuity helicopter for its first flight in April – marking the first flight to another planet. After that he will start hisfor old life.