NASA Mars rover posts glorious ‘sundial’ GIF

NASA repeatedly posts extremely spectacular GIFs of glimpses past our personal environment, and this week, it is one other magnificence from Mars.

On Thursday, the area company’s Curiosity rover posted two animated photos exhibiting the six-wheeled automobile’s view of the Martian panorama over 12 hours. It is basically the illustration of 1 Martian day, from dawn to sundown, with Curiosity capturing its personal shadow within the foreground.

“Hey look – I’m a sundial!” tweeted the official Curiosity account. “Okay, not precisely, however I did get a sol to take pleasure in my environment. Throughout photo voltaic conjunction, I used my hazard cameras to review the Martian climate and mud.”

You’ll be able to see the second set of photos on NASA’s Mars web site.

Curiosity’s pictures had been taken on Nov. 8 from 5:30 a.m. to five:30 p.m. native time. The view is wanting southeast (entrance digital camera) and northwest (rear digital camera) from the Gediz Vallis Ridge, the place Curiosity just lately (and triumphantly) arrived — a serious cease on its regular climb of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, ongoing since 2014.

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They had been snapped utilizing the rover’s entrance and rear Hazard-Avoidance Cameras, referred to as hazcams (the cameras that not solely assist the robotic determine obstacles and tough terrain however have introduced us all types of wonderful Mars imagery). Based on NASA, the rover was commanded to document them earlier than the Mars photo voltaic conjunction, when the Solar rudely sits between Mars and Earth and messes up communications — it is an roughly two-week interval that occurs each two years.

NASA scientists had been hoping to seize some Martian clouds or mud devils, and whereas they did not get any climate within the pictures, the stitched clips are a wonderful instance of a Martian day — and Curiosity’s presence throughout it.

“Because the sky brightens throughout dawn, the shadow of the rover’s 7-foot (2-meter) robotic arm strikes to the left, and Curiosity’s entrance wheels emerge from the darkness on both facet of the body. Additionally turning into seen at left is a round calibration goal mounted on the shoulder of the robotic arm,” reads NASA’s weblog put up. “Engineers use the goal to check the accuracy of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, an instrument that detects chemical parts on the Martian floor.

“In the course of the day, the entrance Hazcam’s autoexposure algorithm settles on publicity instances of round one-third of a second. By dusk, that publicity time grows to greater than a minute, inflicting the standard sensor noise referred to as “sizzling pixels” that seems as white snow throughout the ultimate picture.”

As for the spots on the cameras? Properly, you do not careen round Mars for 11 years with out getting a little bit mud on the lens.

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