NASA's Curiosity rover has done it again. The spacecraft has sent back a breathtaking 360 video of Mars' Vera Rubin Ridge which also called the "Rock Hall." The video was taken on December 19 and shows images of Curiosity's next destination - the floor of Gale Crater.
The spacecraft's exploration to the ridge will help NASA scientists to learn better about the formation of the planet. "We've had our fair share of surprises. We're leaving with a different perspective of the ridge than what we had before," said Abigail Fraeman, member of the project.
Curiosity, on the ridge, also discovered hematite - an iron-rich mineral that often forms water. This helped the astronomers understand that water affected certain parts of the ridge differently than others.
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."
Curiosity is now heading towards Glenn Torrid - a region that is believed to comprise of clay minerals. "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," Ashen Vasavada, who also works on the project.