New images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter include unique views on the Martian surface of NASA’s Vision lander and Interest rover. The Opportunity wanderer expired last year after being restricted by sand, ensuring that NASA has only two robotic reviews exploring the Martian superficial: the six-wheeled Interest traveler. And the Insight lander is still immobile. But flying high in space is the Mars of NASA Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which periodically surveys Martian environments in pursuit of cool new stuff, such as dried-up waterway channels, fresh impact craters, and rare, ahem, elephant. Sometimes the HiRISE camera of the orbiter looks down on the mechanisms below. According to a NASA media relief, this has occurred recently, so we have some lovely new photos of Curiosity and Vision.
Vision is placed in the Elysium Planitia zone, hugging Martian equator. MRO took the photo above from a height of 272 km on September 23, 2019. The picture is so transparent that the two solar panels of the lander are visible, measuring 6 meters (20 feet) from one end to the other. The bright white spot is the dome-shaped shield that protects the marsquake detector from Insight, resulting in some impressive results. The streaks seen below the lander were traces that dust devils left behind — one of which swept back in May over the lander. The MRO removed a rough photo of Vision in Dec 2018, but as the company states in its press relief, NASA reflects this to be the sharpest image yet taken of the lander from the galaxy.
Meanwhile, in a region known as the clay-bearing group, Curiosity was busy about 600 kilometers (373 miles) away. Pictures before and after demonstrate Curiosity’s development as it moved 337 meters (1,106 feet) from the Woodland Bay area (top) to Sandside Harbor (bottom) from 31 May to 20 July 2019. Unbelievably, when you look closely, you can see the traces of the rover. Mars ‘ barren land will soon have a few more residents. The upcoming NASA rover Mars 2020 and the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover from ESA are scheduled to be launch next year. That’s going to mean cooler science as well as new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter photo objectives.