New images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provide a new look at the NASA's Insight Lander and Curiosity Rover on the Martian surface.
The Opportunity Rover died last year after being suffocated by dust, which means that NASA has only two robotic probes currently investigating the Martian surface: the six-wheeled Curiosity Rover and the immovable InSight Lander. High above space, however, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) regularly scans the Martian surface for cool new things, such as parched river canals fresh impact craters and occasionally ahem elephant .
Sometimes the HiRISE camera of the orbiter looks down on the machines. According to a NASA press release this has happened recently. So we have some nice new photos of Curiosity and InSight .
InSight is located in a region called Elysium Planitia, which embraces the Martian equator. MRO completed the image about on September 23, 201
The MRO made a grainy photo of InSight in December 2018, but NASA sees this as the clearest picture yet captured by the lander from space, the agency said in its press release :
Several factors make this image sharper than a series of images released after InSight's November landing in 2018. First, there's less dust in the air this time around. The shadows are offset from the lander because this is an oblique view to the west. The lighting was also optimal to avoid the bright reflections of the lander or its solar panels, which have obscured the surrounding pixels in other images. However, bright reflections are unavoidable in seismometer coverage south of the lander due to its dome shape.
The dark material surrounding the lander was caused by InSights Retrorockets when descending.
Meanwhile Curiosity was employed in a region 600 kilometers away, known as a clay-containing unit. Before and after-pictures show the progress of Curiosity as they traveled 337 meters from an area called Woodland Bay (above) to Sandside Harbor (below), which they did from May 31 to 31. May did July 20, 2019. Incredibly, the Rover's Traces can be seen upon close inspection .
The deserted surface of Mars will soon have a few more inhabitants . The NASA Rover Mars 2020 and the ESA Rover to be named later will launch next year. This means more cool science and new photo destinations for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.