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NASA Released Mars 360-Degree Video Showing Murray Buttes in Panoramic View

Aug 22, 2016 06:18 AM EDT
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NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has reached another career high as it recently beamed back a 360-degree video of Martian plains showing the Murray Buttes and other areas near Mount Sharp.

In the 360-degree video, eroded mesas and buttes are visible; according to NASA, they resemble some U.S. southwest horizon. Buttes are like isolated steep hills and are vertical in nature. They also look like layers of rocks seen in Earth dessert and other plains.

To create the interesting video, the Mars Curiosity Rover used its Mast Camera (MastCam) onboard. The MastCom took the images that composed the video on Aug. 4, 2016. The Murray Buttes is visible from Curiosity's route in the lower Mount Sharp. The buttes were named after former directors of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Bruce Murray. Based on NASA's report, the buttes and mesas are known to be wind erosion-resistant. This is the reason why the formations were preserved despite harsh environment on Mars.

Some of the layers include the plains or surface that the Rover is currently traversing on. However, studies show that the top parts of the buttes are younger in nature. Because of this, the younger layers may be able to provide information about the lake and water conditions on the planet that could have been habitable to certain kinds of microbes in the ancient times when the Martian environment is less harsh than it is today.

Earlier this year, the Mars Curiosity Rover was sent on a mission and that is to find signs of water on Mars. It has performed drilling and other explorations since it has arrived on the planet and some prominent findings of the rover are the dark slopes known as recurring slope lineae (RSL) on Mars that could have been influenced by flowing water.  

"There are so many of them, it's hard to keep track," Matthew Chojnacki of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and lead author of the new report said in a statement. "The occurrence of recurring slope lineae in these canyons is much more widespread than previously recognized," Chojnacki added.

The 360-degree video and the science that comes with it will largely help NASA in preparation for the upcoming Journey to Mars.

 

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