Mars Rover takes awe-inspiring panoramic snap to celebrate 3,000 days on planet

A NASA rover took an incredible panoramic view of the red planet to celebrate 3,000 days on Mars.

Curiosity, the rover, touched down on the rock on August 6, 2012, and has made impressive new discoveries while it continues to climb up Mount Sharp – the three-mile tall mountain.

It has been exploring the mountain since 2014, starting two years after it arrived on the planet.

Geologists were intrigued to see a series of rock "benches" in the most recent panorama from the mission.

The impressive panoramic snap was stitched together from 122 images taken on November 18 last year – the mission's 2,946th sol or Martian day.

The photo was captured by the Mast Camera or Mastcam, which act as the rover's main "eyes".

Near the centre of the shot is the floor of the Gale Crate, standing at 96 miles wide, which Mount Sharp sits within.

On the horizon, you can see the north crater rim in the picture.

Looking right of the snap, the upper part of the mountain can be spotted.

  • SpaceX capsule set to bring first crate of 'space-aged' wine back to Earth

Mount Sharp has rock layers that are shaped by lakes and streams billions of years ago.

The curved rock terraces can form when there are harder and softer layers of rock on a slope, explains NASA.

As the softer layers erode, small cliffs are formed by the harder layers, leaving behind the rock "benches".

They can also form during a landslide, when large slabs of bedrock slide downhill.

Curiosity's team of scientists have seen these type of benches before in Gale Crater, but rarely forming a grouping of steps seen in the picture.

“Our science team is excited to figure out how they formed and what they mean for the ancient environment within Gale,” said Ashwin Vasavada of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which built and manages the rover.

This year, the rover has been driving across a clay-bearing region named 'Glen Teorridon', made a pit stop at a place nicknamed 'Mary Anning' and continues to make its way to 'the sulfate-bearing unit' at the next major layer.

What are you most excited to see on the Red Planet? Let us know in the comments below

Source: Read Full Article