NASA ’s Curiosity rover has captured a stunning 360 video of Mars’ Vera Rubin Ridge, which has been nicknamed ‘Rock Hall.’
The video was created from a panorama taken by the rover on December 19, and includes images of Curiosity’s next destination – the floor of Gale Crater.
Curiosity’s exploration of the Vera Rubin Ridge could help NASA to piece together the story of its formation.
Abigail Fraeman, who has been working on the project, said: “We’ve had our fair share of surprises. We’re leaving with a different perspective of the ridge than what we had before.”
Within patches in the ridge, Curiosity discovered hematite – an iron-rich mineral that often forms in water.
This suggests that over time, groundwater affected certain parts of the ridge differently than others.
Ms Fraeman said: “The whole traverse is helping us understand all the factors that influence how our orbiters see Mars.
“Looking up close with a rover allowed us to find a lot more of these hematite signatures. It shows how orbiter and rover science complement one another.”
The rover will now explore Glen Torrid – a region that is known to contain clay minerals.
Ashen Vasavada, who also works on the project, said: “In addition to indicating a previously wet environment, clay minerals are known to trap and preserve organic molecules.
“That makes this area especially promising, and the team is already surveying the area for its next drill site.”