The folks at NASA were nice enough to stitch a bunch of images from Curiosity at Namib Dune into a 360-degree video. Check it out.
Curiosity snapped the images back on December 18, 2015 using its Mast Camera rig, better known as Mastcam.
Did You Know: The Mastcam takes high-def video at 10 frames per second.
Curiosity’s latest target: Namib Dune
That’s the name of the dark dune in front of the rover. In the 360-degree video, Curiosity sits about 23 feet away from the bottom of the dune. The dune itself is about 16 feet high.
What’s the big deal about Martian dunes? This is the first time Curiosity is getting an up-close look at a ‘true’ Martian dune. The rover has seen other wind-shaped areas of sand such as drifts and ripples. But, Namib has a steep, downwind slope called a slip face.
Here’s another image with annotations.
The ‘toe’ is how far the actual dune extends downwind while the ‘horn’ shows where sand is escaping and moving further downwind. The ‘brink’ separates the windward and downwind sides of the dune.
On Jan. 19, Curiosity took this self-portrait at a different area of Namib Dune.
It then examined several scoops of sand which I wrote about here.
How to find the newest Curiosity images
Here’s the latest image (that isn’t a thumbnail) from Curiosity’s Mastcam. It was captured on Sol 1247 (yesterday here on Earth).
Want to keep up with the latest Mars images? Head to this page and scroll all the way down. You want to find Mast Camera. Once you find it, look for the orange dates. That means there are new or updated images available to view. Yesterday, the Mastcam captured 20 images, but only five are bigger than thumbnails.
Still, it’s cool to see the images that may ultimately end up in a press release over the next few weeks.
Image credits: NASA