Curiosity Views Gediz Vallis Ridge
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover captured this 360-degree panorama while parked below Gediz Vallis Ridge (the hill-like slope at right). After three attempts over the course of three years, the rover finally reached the ridge on its fourth try on Aug. 14, 2023, the 3,923rd Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
On Aug. 19, Curiosity's Mastcam took the 136 individual images that were stitched together into this mosaic after being sent back to Earth. The color has been adjusted to match lighting conditions as the human eye would see them on Earth.
Gediz Vallis Ridge was one of the last features to form on Mount Sharp, the 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) mountain that Curiosity has been ascending since 2014. The ridge preserves a record of one of the last wet periods seen on this part of Mars.
Reaching the ridge was no easy feat: previous forays were stymied by knife-edged "gator-back" rocks and too-steep slopes. Arriving after one of the most difficult climbs the mission has ever faced, Curiosity spent 11 days at the ridge. It then departed to ascend higher up the mountain, where the rover will investigate Gediz Vallis Channel, through which water flowed some 3 billion years ago, carrying rocks and debris that piled up to form the ridge.
Curiosity was built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California. JPL leads the mission on behalf of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego built and operates Mastcam.