Curiosity celebrates 3,000 Martian days on Mars

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NASA has revealed a new panoramic shot in celebration of the long-lived rover’s time on the Red Planet.

With NASA’s Perseverance rover on schedule to land on Mars in five weeks’ time, it’s easy to forget that its counterpart has been active on the Martian surface for over 8 years.

When it launched from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket back in November 2011, there were concerns that the mission would end in failure – not only because of the rover’s large size relative to previous rovers, but also because of the ground-breaking ‘sky crane’ landing system needed to get it on to the surface of Mars in one piece – something that had never been used in a mission before.

Much to everyone’s relief however, Curiosity touched down successfully in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012 to rapturous applause from the mission team – it was a tremendous achievement.

In the years that followed, the car-sized rover would go on to cover more than 11 miles of the Red Planet’s dusty terrain, taking pictures, recording data and analyzing samples.

Now in celebration of its achievements, NASA has released a new panoramic image (view here).

“Stitched together from 122 images taken on Nov. 18, 2020, the mission’s 2,946th sol, the panorama was captured by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, which serves as the rover’s main eyes,” NASA wrote.

“Toward the center of the panorama is the floor of Gale Crater, the 96-mile-wide (154 kilometer-wide) bowl that Mount Sharp sits within. On the horizon is the north crater rim. To the right is the upper part of Mount Sharp, which has rock layers that were shaped by lakes and streams billions of years ago.”

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