Some of the Best Images of Mars’ Surface Taken So Far
Here are some of the best images taken on the Red Planet so far.
As part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet, the Curiosity rover was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet’s “habitability.”
To find out, Curiosity carries the biggest, most advanced set of scientific instruments ever sent to the Martian surface. The rover analyzes samples taken from the planet’s soil and drilled from its rocks. The record of the planet’s climate and geology is essentially “written in the rocks and soil” — in their formation, structure, and chemical composition. Curiosity’s onboard laboratory studies the samples taken, as well as the local geologic setting, in order to detect chemical building blocks of life (e.g., forms of carbon) on Mars, assessing what the Martian environment was like in the past.
Part of that mission is taking photographs. A lot of them. And while for scientists they are all but maps to potential traces of life – which Curiosity has indeed found evidence of in rocks – for most of us they are a breathtaking opportunity to look around on the Red Planet. So here are some of the most interesting ones taken so far.