NASA's Curiosity rover captures stunning sunrise on Mars


The Martian rover Curiosity has been on the red planet since August 6, 2012 in search of signs of present or past life. Incidentally, it may provide clues to unravel the mystery of the loss of the magnetic field and the subsequent evaporation of the vast bodies of water that once covered Mars. It has several cameras that allow capturing mosaics of the environment, to be later processed and create beautiful postcards as the union between a sunrise and sunset.

1b PIA25912 Curiositys Postcard View of Marker Band Valley Figure A
Labeled image of the mosaic captured by the Curiosity rover on Mars. Credits: NASA JPL.

Martian postcard

Curiosity has several cameras and instruments to study its environment. Some are mounted on a movable arm that allows it to generate mosaics, stitches of several black-and-white photos. Once they are sent to Earth, they can be processed to give them a coloration that is close to the real one, or they can be given false colors for a more aesthetic appearance..

After a major software upgrade, the rover captured two black and white mosaics of the Marker Band Valleywhich it will abandon in the next few suns. The postcard is an artistic interpretation of the views of the site on April 8 at 9:20 am and 3:40 pm. This gives an idea of the contrast between sunrise and sunset on the red planet. As well as the different shades and illuminations in the sky at both times.

Curiosity is located in the foothills of the Mount SharpThe volcano, which reaches up to 5 kilometers above the level of the Gale crater. The marks of the wheels on the floor stand out from the Marker Band Valleywhere he unexpectedly found evidence of an ancient lake.

Currently, the region is in wintera time of little windblown dust. This is evidenced by the quality of the shadows, which at other times would be distorted by particles suspended in the tenuous atmosphere.  

Francisco Andrés Forero Daza