Wide-Angle Panorama from Ridge in Mars' Gale Crater
|Figure 1||Figure 2|
Climbing "Vera Rubin Ridge" provided NASA's Curiosity Mars rover this sweeping vista of the interior and rim of Gale Crater, including much of the rover's route during its first five-and-a-half years on Mars and features up to about 50 miles (85 kilometers) away.
The scene spans from southwest on the left to northeast on the right, combining 16 side-by-side images taken by the left-eye, wider-angle-lens camera of Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam). It has been white-balanced so the colors of the rock materials resemble how they would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.
The component images were taken on Oct. 25, 2017, during the 1,856th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. At that point, Curiosity had gained 1,073 feet (327 meters) in elevation and driven 10.95 miles (17.63 kilometers) from its landing site.
Mount Sharp stands about 3 miles (5 kilometers) high in the middle of Gale Crater, which spans 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter. Vera Rubin Ridge is on the northwestern flank of lower Mount Sharp. The foreground of this panorama shows portions of lower Mount Sharp. The middle distance shows the floor of Gale Crater. Most of the horizon is formed by the crater's rim. The top of the rim is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) higher than the rover's position. On the horizon near the center of the image is a glimpse outside of Gale Crater, to a peak about 50 miles (85 kilometers) from the rover.
An annotated version, Figure 1, indicates the rover's approximate path since its 2012 landing, identifies some of the sites it has investigated along the way, such as "Yellowknife Bay," "The Kimberley," "Namib Dune" and "Murray Buttes"; and points out other geological features visible in the scene, such as the channel of Peace Vallis, an ancient streambed descending from the crater rim. The relative positions of the labeled features are also mapped on an accompanying orbital view in PIA22208, with two areas color-coded for ease of matching them in the annotated panorama and the orbital view.
Figure 2 is a version with a white-line box indicating the smaller area covered in a more-detailed vista (PIA22209) taken from this same rover location by Mastcam's right-eye, telephoto-lens camera. It also includes three scale bars: of 50 meters (164 feet) at a distance of 1,170 meters (1,280 yards) near the base of Mount Sharp; of 1,000 meters (1,094 yards) at a distance of about 23.4 kilometers (14.5 miles) near the base of the crater wall; and of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) at a distance of about 31.5 kilometers (19.6 miles) at the crest of the rim.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the Mastcam. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.