The NASA rover Curiosity has been on the red planet for a year now and the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have released a video made up of time lapsed activities into a two minute video. NASA presents Twelve Months in Two Minutes Curiosity’s First Year on Mars. The Martian landscape through a lens. We’ve included the video below for your viewing pleasure.
The 548 photos were taken between August 2012 to July 2013 with the vehicle’s Hazard Avoidance camera and combined to show what the rover’s activities have been in Mars.
In the video we can see the Curiosity taking rock samples and scooping up other samples of Martian rock and as well as driving and drilling for further samples. You can also see the slightly disconcerting shadows of the rover moving across.
The amazing video isn’t in high definition and it only lasts two minutes, but it is very interesting to see and think about.
NASA sent the rover Curiosity to the Mars surface on August 6, 2012 roughly a mile from the center of a 12-mile target area. The mission was planned for just under two years. The first eight months of Curiosity being on the surface of the planet it found that at one time Mars could have supported microbiological life.
The Curiosity is outfitted with ten instruments, two of which are the rectangular “eyes” One of these eyes is an imaging camera complete with various filters and focal lengths. The other “eye” is a circular camera that fires a laser that can turn a rock into vapor. Yet another camera analyzes the images from blasted area to ascertain its composition.
The Mars exploration vehicle uses a plutonium electrical generator for power and resembles a dune buggy, though you can’t see it in the two minute video. The shadows that it casts are from the various towers and antenna on the top of the Curiosity.
With Nasa presenting the first twelve months on Mars as seen through one of its camera lenses, remembering the size of the actual rover is hard. The Curiosity is a huge piece of technical and scientific machinery that can delicately scoop up a sample from the surface yet be strong enough to withstand the rigours of travel during its mission.
It weighs in at around a ton and is slightly larger than a car. The ten foot long and seven feet high vehicle is durable enough that it will last long after it’s planned 23 month mission. Since the Curiosity has been on the surface it has been sending back images and soil sample reports as well as atmospheric test results.
If you go to the Jet Propulsion website, you can see posts that deal with what the rover has been doing and the maps of where it has traveled on the Mars surface. 2013 has been an exciting year for Nasa with the Curiosity sending back reports to show that at one time the planet had water on the surface by finding evidence of water crystals and water vapour in the atmosphere.
The two minute black and white video shows a surface that looks almost like a desert on Earth. In several shots, you can see the rover’s arm scooping what looks like sand from one area and in another photograph, the vehicle approaches something that looks like a triangle.
Somewhat disappointingly, there aren’t any signs of alien life of the planet; no little “green men” to pose for pictures back home, but the alien landscape is fascinating enough. With Nasa presenting twelve months on Mars through a lens for the one year anniversary of Curiosity’s being on the planet, we can only wonder what will be seen on the second anniversary. Until that time, have a look at the video below.
By Michael Smith