Curiosity rover snaps dusty, colorful Mars panorama

Image 1 of 2

NASA's Curiosity rover captured this image in Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars, August 9, 2018. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA's Curiosity rover has sent back a stunning panoramic view of the colorful and mysterious landscape on Mars.

The 360-degree image, captured on August 9, 2018, shows the rover's surroundings on Vera Rubin Ridge, where it was drilling for rock samples. It shows skies darkened by a fading dust storm as well as a view of the dust-covered rover itself, NASA said.

The image revealed variation in color and texture that the rover hadn't previously seen, according to Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"The ridge isn't this monolithic thing—it has two distinct sections, each of which has a variety of colors," Vasavada said. "Some are visible to the eye and even more show up when we look in near-infrared, just beyond what our eyes can see. Some seem related to how hard the rocks are."

The color of the image has been adjusted to mimic what the rocks and sand would look like in daylight on Earth.

Curiosity launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on November 26, 2011, and landed inside Gale Crater on Mars on August 5, 2012 (Pacific time).