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Mars Curiosity Rover Marks 10th Birthday on the Red Planet, Sends Scintillating Photos

Launched in 2011, the rover continues to probe the red planet even now. (Image: nasa/Instagram)

Launched in 2011, the rover continues to probe the red planet even now. (Image: nasa/Instagram)

According to NASA, usually, when the rover completes a drive, it takes 360-degree images using its navigation cameras.

The question of the perfect place to celebrate a birthday, for some people, comes down to if they are a mountain person or a beach person. But if you are on Mars, and beaches dried out billions of years ago, all you are left with are dusty mountains. But it is not so bad if the view is still nice. That is how NASA’s Curiosity Rover celebrated its 10th birthday on November 26. Launched in 2011, the rover’s prime mission duration was just 23 months but it continues to work even after more than nine years of reaching the Martian surface.

On its 10th birthday, the Curiosity rover shared a beautiful picture of Martian mountains which the space agency posted on Instagram. The calm, dusty mountains and the dim sunlight of the setting sun, despite inhabiting a deserted land, evoke a sense of tranquility. The picture shows the top of the rover in the dim sunlight and the elevation of mountains in the distance.

Sharing the picture, NASA wrote in the caption, “Our Curiosity Mars rover was thinking of you and decided to send you a postcard of its most recent perch on the side of Mars’ Mount Sharp.”

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According to NASA, usually, when the rover completes a drive, it takes 360-degree images using its navigation cameras in black-and-white and stores them in a low quality for easier transmission. But when the rover saw that view, it “was just too pretty not to capture it in the highest quality that the navigation cameras are capable of.”

Once Curiosity sent the high-quality picture, mission scientists blended two pictures of the same view from different times of the day and added colour. The result was a beautiful “rare postcard from the Red planet.”

Responding to the post, Instagram users thanked curiosity for sharing the beautiful image. One user was amused at how similar it looked to the earth, “Wow! it looks like Earth,” read the comment. “I wish I was there,” wrote another user.

One user wrote in comments that Mars could be their future home someday.

What do you think of the idea of celebrating your birthday on the Red planet?

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first published:November 29, 2021, 08:00 IST