NASA published a panorama of the Martian surface shot by the Curiosity rover

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released a 3-minute video with a high-resolution panorama of the Martian surface filmed by the rover Curiosity.

In the video, which is commented on by Curiosity Deputy Project Scientist Abigail Freiman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the viewer is introduced to Gale Crater, including Mount Sharp, 5 miles (8 km) high.

“Since landing in Gale Crater in 2012, the rover has traveled more than 16 miles,” Freiman says in the video. And as the image zooms in, she adds: “This view is from 1,500 feet above where we landed!”

Throughout the video, Freiman notes many stunning elements of the panorama, including vast plains of volcanic sand formed by Martian winds, an unusually clear Martian winter atmosphere that lets you see the crater rim about 20 miles away, and some close-up images of rocks and stones that the rover is currently analyzing.

In addition, Freiman says, many of the surface textural features found in these close-range images indicate that they were formed by groundwater.

The story ends with an arrow indicating the rover’s next route and goals. This includes a look at “Mount Rafael Navarro,” named after one of the mission scientists who passed away in January.

At the end of the video, Freiman emphasizes Curiosity’s overall mission and ends on a hopeful note.

“How long did conditions on Mars last that were conducive to life?” – she asks. “We look forward to finding out.”

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