Curiosity says goodbye to the Vera Rubin Ridge with a 360 video

The Curiosity rover has been exploring the Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars for more than a year now, and it is time for the explorer to move on to new areas of the planet. But before it departs, Curiosity has captured a 360 video of its final drill site — an area that scientists have nicknamed “Rock Hall.” The video is a composite of images taken in a panoramic form on December 19, 2018, which you can move around to get a feeling of what the view is like from the rover:

If you can’t watch the video, then an image of the panorama is embedded below as well:

curiosity vera rubin ridge 360 video pia23042 2000 1
This panorama was taken on Dec. 19 (Sol 2265) by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. The rover’s last drill location on Vera Rubin Ridge is visible, as well as the clay region it will spend the next year exploring. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

In both the video and the image, you can see the surface of Mars and the horizon. The images do not capture the rover itself (though Curiosity’s companion InSight has taken a selfie in the past if you want to see that) or the sky, as these are not the focus of Curiosity’s research. Though you can see Curiosity’s drill and features of the terrain like the most recent drilling site, the Rock Hall Drill Hole, as well as the previous Highfield drill site, and the Gale Crater Rim and Floor. You can also see Upper Mount Sharp in the distance and the area where Curiosity will be moving to study next, called the “clay-bearing unit.”

During its time on the Vera Rubin Ridge, Curiosity made some unexpected discoveries about the geology of the area. “We’ve had our fair share of surprises,” Curiosity science team member Abigail Fraeman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. “We’re leaving with a different perspective of the ridge than what we had before.” For example, Curiosity confirmed the presence in the bedrock of hematite, an iron-rich mineral which often forms in water, suggesting that in the past there was groundwater on some parts of the ridge.

curiosity vera rubin ridge 360 video curiosity360
A crop of the Curiosity’s 360 image, showing the edge of the rover and the Martian surface. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The rover is now moving on to a trough between the ridge and the rest of the mountain called Glen Torridon. It is called “clay-bearing” because data from orbiters shows that rocks there contain clay minerals which form in water. Scientists hope to learn more about the ancient lakes that formed in the area by examining the rocks in greater detail.

Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
Emerging Tech

InSight’s heat probe will dig 16 feet beneath the surface of Mars

New images from NASA's InSight mission to Mars have confirmed that the lander succeeded in setting the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument onto the surface, from where a self-hammering spike will burrow downwards.
Emerging Tech

Descending at an angle could be key to landing heavier craft on Mars

Landing on Mars is a challenge: The heavier the craft, the more difficult a safe landing becomes. Scientists propose using retropropulsion engines and angling the craft to create a pressure differential to land heavier crafts in the future.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s MAVEN orbiter has a new job as a communication relay for Mars 2020

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has been collecting atmospheric readings but now is taking on a new job as a data relay satellite for the Mars 2020 mission that launches next year.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.