All this while humans have been enjoying, appreciating, not to mention utilizing, the photos of the Red Planet captured by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. However, now there is a photo of the rover itself, as it makes its way through the rough Martian terrain, captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s (MRO) camera.
If one looks carefully at the image, a spot of color in the barren terrain will be seen. It is a faint blue dot, and that is the rover on its undeterred journey. Against what looks like an intimidating background of dark sand, cliffs and rocks, Curiosity presents a vulnerable image, which it is far from, considering all the feats that it has achieved since landing on Mars.
According to NASA, the photo was captured on June 5, 2017, when the rover was making its journey uphill after the exploration of active sand dunes lower on Mount Sharp to reach the Vera Rubin Ridge. The ridge has been identified to have hematite outcrops, which the rover is going to investigate next. Curiosity, which is nearing its fifth year of operation, will check the area for samples to help look for proof of previous habitability on Mars.
The American space agency has also put up a post to show the exact location of Curiosity on the day the set of images were captured. The MRO takes many images of the lone rover each year. Incidentally, the color of the rover seems exaggerated because it is. The image was released with sharp contrasts to highlight the differences of the Martian surface, which in turn makes Curiosity look bluer than it really is.
The lower Mount Sharp region was chosen for the Curiosity mission because the mountain’s layers have rocks that have a record of the planet’s environmental conditions from various periods of its history. The rover has already found evidence that Mars once had a wet environment that was conducive for microbial life; however, it is still unknown if the Red Planet ever actually hosted life.