NASA’s Curiosity Rover is set to embark on a Martian road trip that will cover roughly 1.6 kilometres of terrain, but not before capturing this panoramic image of its final destination.
The Martian road trip that Curiosity rover will embark on will see the Rover journey towards its next destination, an area of Mars known as Mount Sharp which contains a ‘sulfate-bearing unit’. According to NASA, sulfates like gypsum and Epsom salts usually form around water as it evaporates, and the data gathered by the curiosity rover could give scientists an insight into how the Martian climate and its prospects for life has changed over the past 3 billion years.
“Nodules like these require water in order to form,” said Alexander Bryk, a doctoral student at University of California, Berkeley who led the pediment detour. “We found some in the windblown sandstone on top of the pediment and some just below the pediment. At some point after the pediment formed, water seems to have returned, altering the rock as it flowed through it.”
In terms of how exactly the curiosity rover will get to Mount Sharp and its sulfate-bearing unit, NASA will trust in the rovers automated driving abilities to find the safest paths for large parts of the journey. However, NASA’s Curiosity team will still be controlling and monitoring the rover from their homes according to slashgear.
This summer, our @MarsCuriosity rover is taking a road trip. It’s driving around a vast patch of sand on the way to its next stop, a part of Mount Sharp called the “sulfate-bearing unit.”
📸 Landscapes from the journey: https://t.co/F4EdJ8jR5k pic.twitter.com/XWvFWgTjUP
— NASA (@NASA) July 9, 2020
“Curiosity was designed to go beyond Opportunity’s search for the history of water,” said Abigail Fraeman of JPL, who has served as deputy project scientist for both missions. “We’re uncovering an ancient world that offered life a foothold for longer than we realized.”