Mind-blowing pics from surface of Mars taken by Curiosity – as Nasa celebrates rover’s 8th anniversary on Red Planet

Mind-blowing pics from surface of Mars taken by Curiosity – as Nasa celebrates rover's 8th anniversary on Red Planet

NASA’S Curiosity Mars rover celebrated its eighth anniversary on the Red Planet this week.

The $2.5billion (£1.9billion) machine has taken some stunning photos during its stay on the dusty world, including the first ever selfie on Mars.

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This amazing selfie was taken by Nasa’s Curiosity rover at the Namib Dune in 2016. The camera used for this was the Mars Hand Lens Imager, which sits at the end of the rover’s robotic armCredit: Nasa

Curiosity’s mission is to find out whether the planet ever was, or is, habitable to microbial life.

About the size of a MINI Cooper, the rover is loaded with 17 cameras and a robotic arm containing a suite of specialised scientific instruments.

During its eight years (and counting) on Mars, Curiosity has photographed hills and craters that once flowed with Martian rivers and lakes.

It has also captured the highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface, giving space fans their most complete view yet of the planet.

Following from Wednesday’s anniversary, here are some of the best images the rover has beamed back to Earth.

Sunset on Mars

The Sun as it sets over the Martian surface in April 2015

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The Sun as it sets over the Martian surface in April 2015Credit: Nasa

King of the hill

This view from the Curiosity Mars rover's Mastcam shows a 16ft-tall dark mound, called 'Ireson Hill,' on lower Mount Sharp

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This view from the Curiosity Mars rover’s Mastcam shows a 16ft-tall dark mound, called ‘Ireson Hill,’ on lower Mount SharpCredit: Nasa

Ridge-raider

Curiosity as it explores Mars' Teal Ridge on June 18, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission

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Curiosity as it explores Mars’ Teal Ridge on June 18, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the missionCredit: Nasa

Holey moly

A two-inch-deep hole produced using a new drilling technique for NASA's Curiosity rover

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A two-inch-deep hole produced using a new drilling technique for NASA’s Curiosity roverCredit: Nasa

Rock and roll

A rocky outcrop on the Martian surface snapped by Nasa's Curiosity rover

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A rocky outcrop on the Martian surface snapped by Nasa’s Curiosity roverCredit: Nasa

I see you

Curiosity snapped this picture of Earth and Venus as seen from the surface of Mars earlier this year

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Curiosity snapped this picture of Earth and Venus as seen from the surface of Mars earlier this yearCredit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SSI

Water way to go

The Kimberley formation, snapped by Nasa's Curiosity rover. The way the land dips towards Mount Sharp suggests that water flowed towards a basin that once existed

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The Kimberley formation, snapped by Nasa’s Curiosity rover. The way the land dips towards Mount Sharp suggests that water flowed towards a basin that once existedCredit: Nasa

Dune buggy

This view from the Curiosity rover's Mast Camera shows ripples in a dune field on lower Mount Sharp, taken in March 2017 as part of a 360-degree panorama shot of Ogunquit Beach

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This view from the Curiosity rover’s Mast Camera shows ripples in a dune field on lower Mount Sharp, taken in March 2017 as part of a 360-degree panorama shot of Ogunquit BeachCredit: Nasa

Panorama drama

The highest-resolution panorama of Mars was taken by Curiosity in late 2019

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The highest-resolution panorama of Mars was taken by Curiosity in late 2019Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Martian mountains

This Curiosity image shows sloping buttes and rocky, layered outcrops on Mount Sharp. The buttes are eroded remnants of ancient sandstone

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This Curiosity image shows sloping buttes and rocky, layered outcrops on Mount Sharp. The buttes are eroded remnants of ancient sandstoneCredit: Nasa

Wheely good

The Curiosity rover took this photo in 2012, showcasing its own three left wheels. In the distance you can see the lower slope of Mount Sharp

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The Curiosity rover took this photo in 2012, showcasing its own three left wheels. In the distance you can see the lower slope of Mount SharpCredit: Nasa

Iron throne

This photo shows a meteorite snapped by Curiosity. The rock, named Lebanon, is an iron meteorite that landed on Mars from somewhere else in space

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This photo shows a meteorite snapped by Curiosity. The rock, named Lebanon, is an iron meteorite that landed on Mars from somewhere else in spaceCredit: Nasa

Mars facts

Here’s what you need to know about the Red Planet…

  • Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
  • It is named after the Roman god of war
  • The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth but due to the difference in gravity you could jump three times higher there than you can here
  • Mars is mountainous and hosts the tallest mountain known in the Solar System called Olympus Mons, which is three times higher than Everest
  • Mars is considered to be the second most habitable planet after Earth
  • It takes the planet 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
  • So far, there has been 39 missions to Mars but only 16 of these have been successful
Eerie Nasa panorama from surface of Mars is most detailed ever

In other news, Nasa launched its latest Mars rover on a seven-month journey to the Red Planet last week.

Billionaire SpaceX boss Elon Musk announced last month that his firm’s mission to get man on Mars is now its “top priority”.

And, Nasa has revealed the design of a moon lander that could be taking astronauts back to the lunar surface by 2024.

Which Curiosity photo is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!


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