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Curiosity rover spotted by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
BY STEPHEN CLARK
ASTRONOMY NOW

Posted: 11 January 2014


A high-resolution camera mounted on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has collected imagery showing the Curiosity rover's trek across Gale Crater toward a three-mile-high mountain.


See larger version. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
 
Scientists often use the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera to study the red planet's evolving geology, detecting intermittent water percolating to the Martian surface, mapping the planet's craters, mountains and canyons, and surveying landing sites for future missions.

HiRISE has also periodically imaged spacecraft already on Mars, including Curiosity, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers and the Phoenix lander after it arrived in 2008.

The camera, the highest-resolution imager ever put in orbit around Mars, is operated by scientists at the University of Arizona in Tucson.


See larger version. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
 
The newest imagery was taken Dec. 11, showing the rover's tracks zigzagging around obstacles and steep slopes. The rover itself is visible in the lower-left part of the black-and-white picture.

After touching down inside Gale Crater in August 2012 and exploring nearby rocks and an ancient riverbed, Curiosity is driving to the foothills of Mount Sharp, a three-mile-high peak where researchers hope to find layered terrain that might tell them about the planet's warmer, wetter past when life may have thrived on Mars.

The rover is expected to arrive at the base of the mountain some time in mid-2014.

The Planets
From tiny Mercury to distant Neptune and Pluto, The Planets profiles each of the Solar System's members in depth, featuring the latest imagery from space missions. The tallest mountains, the deepest canyons, the strongest winds, raging atmospheric storms, terrain studded with craters and vast worlds of ice are just some of the sights you'll see on this 100-page tour of the planets.
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Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.
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3D Universe
Witness the most awesome sights of the Universe as they were meant to be seen in this 100-page extravaganza of planets, galaxies and star-scapes, all in 3D!
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