Someone check Google Maps, because the pictures from NASA’s Curiosity rover look more like New Mexico than Mars. Yet, the red planet was almost a mirror image of Earth in these pics, leading some to think Mars is our planetary twin.
Well, no one is going to confuse the surface of the fourth rock from the sun for places like the Amazon rainforest, downtown Tokyo or the French Alps. Yet, the photos that the Curiosity rover took on Aug. 5 look eerily similar to the deserts of the American southwest.
For the science geeks of NASA, pictures weren’t enough. The agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab compiled the 130-plus photos into a 360-degree panorama, releasing it on Aug. 19, according to the Huffington Post. This video allows space enthusiasts to explore the landscape of Earth’s neighbor. The Rover even tweeted a 360 gif on Aug. 19, inviting everyone to “Join me on Mars amid [the] Murray Buttes.”
The rover, which landed on Mars four years ago, is currently climbing Mars’s Mount Sharp while exploring the younger layers of the planet’s surface, according to USA Today. Curiosity is helping “address high priority goals for planetary science,” NASA said in a statement, noting that whatever the rover finds will help NASA’s efforts to actually send a human to Mars.
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 19, 2016
“A key goal is to learn how freshwater lake conditions,” NASA also said in a statement, “which would have been favorable for microbes billions of years ago if Mars has ever had life, evolved into harsher, arid conditions much less suited to supporting life.”
NASA pointed out that the red planet is actually a bit blue, as the agency confirmed in Sept. 2015 that liquid water had been found on the surface of Mars. While scientists knew that Mars had frozen water at its poles, the discovery of flowing “hydrated salts” confirmed theories that Mars used to be like earth with warm, salty seas. First water, now deserts? What will be the next Earth-like discovery on Mars?
What do you think about Mars looking a lot like Earth, HollywoodLifers? Do you think we’ll ever send someone to the red planet?