NASA’s Curiosity rover has been photographed climbing up Lower Mount Sharp using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Telegraph reports.
The image of the rover, which shows a tiny speck of blue surrounded by a copper-colored backdrop, was captured by NASA’s Mars Orbiter camera (HiRISE) on June 5. The HiRISE camera captures images of the Mars rover every three months in order to study the changing features of the Red Planet’s surface, including dune migration and erosion.
The Curiosity rover was captured not long after it conducted a investigation of active sand dunes below Mount Sharp and was climbing uphill towards “Vera Rubin Ridge” to examine outcrops where hematite deposits have been identified.
The Curiosity rover is approximately 10 feet in length and nine feet wide — just about the size of a small SUV.
The image shows NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover being surrounded by tan rocks and patches of dark sand.
Curiosity appeared bluer than usual on account of the special filter used by the Mars Orbiter camera, which helps scientists identify Mars’ different features, which can’t be spotted by the human naked eye.
Using the Mars Curiosity rover, scientists are studying exposures of rocks found in Mount Sharp’s many layers in order to record the various environmental conditions that arose from different periods in the early history of the Red Planet.
A week ago NASA’s Curiosity rover had discovered diverse mineral content on Mar’s surface, specifically from the lower layers of Mount Sharp, as reported by the Inquisitr. After some extensive study, researchers came to the conclusion that the wide range of minerals found on Mars’ surface bolsters recent findings proving that the Red Planet used to have liquid water. The diverse minerals, scientists suppose, resulted from microbial creatures that resided in the mountain’s rich layers.
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) June 1, 2017
A team of scientists from NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division studied the first four samples the Curiosity rover had found from the base of Mount Sharp, and then came to the conclusion that Mars and Earth shared many similarities in their early years. Essentially, this means that Mars may have been habitable in the past.
“We went to Gale Crater to investigate these lower layers of Mount Sharp that have these minerals that precipitated from water and suggest different environments,” said Elizabeth Rampe, Mars research scientist for Aerodyne at NASA. “These layers were deposited about 3.5 billion years ago, coinciding with a time on Earth when life was beginning to take hold. We think early Mars may have been similar to early Earth, and so these environments might have been habitable.”
Mount Sharp is a Martian mountain found in the middle of a crater comprised of sediments deposited in a lake bed millions of years ago. Scientists believe that the crater used to be a vast ocean.
[Featured Image by NASA/Getty Images]