Mars‘ landscape may be barren and dangerous to human life, but thanks to photos like this from NASA‘s advanced rovers, that doesn’t stop it from looking any less stunning. Although humans have yet to set foot on Mars, robotics and other technologies have allowed astronomers to closely analyze the mysterious planet. Whether it be bleeding-edge telescopes, rovers, helicopters, orbiters, or something else, humans have found inventive ways to closely study a planet we’ve never actually visited.
One such rover contributing to Mars exploration is Perseverance. Perseverance landed on Mars this past February with a simple yet ambitious goal — to traverse the planet searching for ancient life. People have long theorized that Mars was once home to alien lifeforms. If this is true, Perseverance will be the rover to answer that question once and for all. In just a few short months, Perseverance has already collected Martian rock samples, explored new areas on the planet, and more.
Another way Perseverance has kept itself busy is by capturing thousands of photos and sharing them with everyone to see. Wherever Perseverance goes, it takes tons of photos with multiple cameras, shares them with NASA, and NASA then uploads all of those RAW files for the world to browse through. One such photo is the one see above and below, depicting the vast landscape on Mars. This black-and-white image was acquired by Perseverance on September 28 at the local mean solar time of 12:58 using its Left Navigation Camera.
Perseverance has shared countless photos of the Martian surface, but this one stands out as one of the most impressive yet. Unlike most pictures which are usually tight squares, this one is a wide panorama shot of Mars. Looking at the photo, there’s a lot on display. It highlights Mars’ rolling sand dunes, the sea of rocks scattered throughout those dunes, and detailed patterns in the sand left by wind and dust storms. All of this is set against the Martian sky, which appears eerie and haunting even without the iconic yellow glow.
While this picture doesn’t necessarily reveal anything new about Mars, it’s yet another reminder of how beautiful and mysterious the planet is. It’s devoid of any life, has freezing temperatures, and is nothing but endless dust, rocks, and sand. Even so, it still manages to be extremely alluring. It remains unclear if Perseverance will be successful in its hunt for ancient life, but so long as it keeps taking photos like this, we’ll consider the mission a win.
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