A satellite moving around Mars spotted a single machine, the Curiosity Rover, exploring rugged Marsland.
The wagon-size rover, which has covered nearly 21 kilometers on Mars in the past seven years, is now cautiously sliding up the foot of Mount Sharp, a 3.5-mile mountain in the middle of the sprawling Gale crater. The rover was busy searching rock samples in an area planetary scientists suspect was once covered in damp clay.
"This is just one of many stops that the Rover has made in an area called the" Clay-Winning Unit "on Mount Sharp's side," NASA wrote on Friday.
A distinctive ridge called Vera Rubin Ridge cuts to the left (or northwest) of the rover, while to the right of the six-wheeled robot are waves of dark sand.
The rover looks like a shiny spot as the sun was shone at exactly the right angle by Curiosity when NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shot across the sky. Sharp in the years to come to study the landscape and improve our understanding of what the terrain of the desert was like billions of years ago, when the Mars planet was a damp, blue place.
In 2020, a more advanced rover in wagon size will join Curiosity on the Martian soil. The new rover will roam the Jezero Crater, a 30-mile bowl at a depth of 1,640 feet. It is believed that about 3.5 billion years ago there was once a 800 foot deep lake.