NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover experienced some downtime in November 2023. During that period, the rover did not just rest on its laurels. Instead, it filmed an intriguing video of Mars from dawn to dusk. The rover recorded the footage in two black-and-white videos on Nov. 8 while celebrating its 4,002nd Martian day (sol).
The rover experienced downtime during its search for extraterrestrial lifeform on Mars. the downtime was caused by Mars passing around the opposite side of the Sun to Earth. During these periods, astronomers often say that Mars is currently experiencing solar conjunctions. Hence, the ground control team will stop sending messages to the robots on Mars as the solar plasma can alter these commands.
However, the robots on Mars regularly send “health checks” back to the control team on Earth. During this year’s Mars solar conjunctions, the Mars rovers did not receive commands for two weeks which started on Nov. 11 and ended on Nov. 25. The last instruction was given to Curiosity to start filming its surroundings using its two Hazard-Avoidance Cameras (HazCams).
How Mars Curiosity rover Captured the Recent Footage On the Red Planet
Curiosity’s two Hazard-Avoidance Cameras often help the rover detect rocks, slopes, and other dangerous objects that may harm its technologies as it traverses around Mars. However, since, the rover will not move around during the Mars solar conjunctions, it will not need its HazCams to identify any danger.
Instead, the ground team took advantage of the opportunity to film the red planet from dawn to dusk. The footage reveals 12 hours of fascinating snapshots filmed over the period of 24 hours, 37 minutes, and 22-second Martian day. The rover recorded the video between 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time.
The video showed the shadow of the Curiosity rover drifting over the Martian surface. The ground team anticipated seeing the Martian clouds or dust devils blow over Mars’ surface in the 25-frame videos. However, the anticipated Martian weather was absent during the recording. The footage revealed a valley carved into Mount Sharp or Aeolis Mons.
This is about the 3-mile (5-kilometer) mountain in the Gale Crater region of Mars. The rover has been navigating across this region since it landed on Mars in August 2012. Curiosity still remains in good health and we hope to see it perform more greatly on the course of exploring Mars.