The Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter dominate the news today when it comes to Mars. But there is another vehicle on Martian soil also actively working, like the two newcomers: Curiosity.
To remember that it still exists, NASA released on Tuesday (30) a selfie recorded by the rover launched in 2011. In the image, Curiosity appears in front of Mont Mercou, a 6-meter-high rock formation, in the crater Gale , named after a mountain in France.
The image was generated from 60 photographs taken on the 26th, by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument, which is on the probe’s robotic arm, combined with 11 other photos recorded 10 days earlier by Mastcam, installed on the robot’s head.
At the beginning of the month, the mission’s cameras had already recorded a 360º panoramic image of the region. The image allowed the team on Terra to have a better idea of the sedimentary layers of the formation.
Investigating the Gale Crater
After arriving at the Red Planet in August 2012, Curiosity began studies of the Martian climate and surface, in an area that is 3,700 km away from where Perseverance landed, in February.
Since 2014, he has been traveling along the slopes of Mount Sharp, 5 km high, which is in the center of the Gale crater. At the selfie site, his drill was used to spray a small rock sample, placed on instruments inside the rover, allowing the team to study its composition in search of clues about Mars’ past.
The next step is to investigate an area on the hill known as the “sulfate-bearing unit”, to which he has already been sent. There, Curiosity can find material to help discover the reasons that led Mars to transform itself into the current desert.