NASA is calling the composite image above a postcard, and if you view the large version of the image, you’ll see why. It shows what you’d see if you were riding aboard the Curiosity rover on Mars, right now.
The car-sized Mars rover Curiosity rover – launched in late 2011, with touchdown on Mars in August, 2012 – has been studying the foothills of Mount Sharp since September, 2014. The rover moves slowly across Mars’ surface, with an average speed of about 100 feet (30 meters) per hour. Yet this slow, but sure motion of the rover is now carrying it up Mount Sharp, and this new composite image – taken on September 9, 2015 and released on October 2 – shows the direction in which Curiosity is going.
Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada said in an October 2 statement from NASA.
The only thing more stunning than these images is the thought that Curiosity will be driving through those lower hills one day.
We couldn’t help but send a postcard back to all those following her journey.
Bottom line: What NASA is calling a “postcard” – really, a spectacular composite image – from the surface of Mars. The Mars Curiosity rover captured the image on September 9, 2015.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.