Ever since landing on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover has spent the last several years roaming and investigating the planet's ruddy terrain in search of past indications of microbial life. While much of the rover's daily duties involve collecting and analyzing soil samples, Curiosity has also become quite the accomplished photographer. By the end of 2015, it had captured more than 292,000 photos and sent them back to Earth.
However in May 2018, the red planet was engulfed in a massive dust storm that blocked the sun from Mars, causing NASA's solar-powered rover Opportunity to go offline and prevented both rovers from transmitting images back to NASA. Luckily in late August, the dust storm settled and Curiosity captured a stunning panorama video that gives viewers a fascinating glimpse of some geological landmarks in Curiosity's current vicinity on the Vera Rubin Ridge.
To explore the panorama, use your mouse to manually drag the image up,
down, left or right. If you're on a mobile device, simply move your
phone in any direction. The immersive imagery was captured by Curiosity's Mastcam on Aug. 9.
To give you a little perspective of the scale of objects surrounding the rover, NASA explains that "the panorama includes skies darkened by a fading global dust storm and a view from the Mast Camera of the rover itself, revealing a thin layer of dust on Curiosity's deck. In the foreground is the rover's most recent drill target, named 'Stoer' after a town in Scotland near where important discoveries about early life on Earth were made in lakebed sediments."
Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in August 2016.