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

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

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.
Emerging Tech

After a record-setting 15 years, NASA ends Opportunity rover’s tour of Mars

NASA has officially called it quits on its record-setting Mars rover Opportunity, eight months after last hearing from the lander. The Rover landed on the Red Planet in early 2004.
Emerging Tech

InSight places a heat shield over its seismometer, is very proud of itself

NASA's InSight lander placed its seismometer on the surface of Mars at the end of last year. Now the lander has successfully lowered a shield over the seismometer to protect it from the harsh Martian environment.
Emerging Tech

Photosynthesizing artificial leaf may be the air-cleaning tool we’ve dreamed of

Engineers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have invented an artificial leaf which could both clean up our air and provide a cost-effective type of fuel. Here's how it works.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-powered website creates freakishly lifelike faces of people who don’t exist

No, this isn't a picture of a missing person. It's a face generated by a new artificial intelligence on the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com. Here's how the impressive A.I. works.
Emerging Tech

China’s mind-controlled cyborg rats are proof we live in a cyberpunk dystopia

Neuroscience researchers from Zhejiang University, China, have created a method that allows humans to control the movements of rats using a technology called a brain-brain interface.
Emerging Tech

Underground volcanoes could explain possible liquid water on Mars

Last year scientists discovered there could be liquid water on Mars. Now a research team argues that for there to be liquid water, there must be an underground source of heat -- and they believe underground volcanoes could be responsible.
Emerging Tech

The 10 most expensive drones that you (a civilian) can buy

OK, these drones may be a bit beyond your budget: Check out the most expensive drones in the world, from industrial giants to highest-end filming tools.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Computing

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Emerging Tech

A river of stars one billion years old flows across the southern sky

Astronomers have identified a river of stars flowing across our galaxy and covering most of the southern sky. The estimated 4000 stars that comprise the stream were born together and have been moving together for the last one billion years.