NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) shared a postcard image of “Marker Band Valley” on Mars, depicting two parts of the same day on the Red Planet. JPL shared the image on Tuesday and also shared a handy guide that categorized everything you can see on the screen.

The image was created by combining two panoramic black-and-white images taken by Curiosity’s navigation cameras. Color was added to create an artistic interpretation of the scene. The sky is colored blue for the part taken in the morning and red for the part of the merged image taken in the afternoon.

Annotated version of the image from the Curiosity rover on Mars Annotated version of the same image courtesy of NASA.

The images were taken on April 8 at 9.20am and 3.40pm Mars local time. The contrast provided by the different lighting during those times combined to bring out the details.

While the image was being taken, Curiosity was in the foothills of Mount Sharp, a 5-kilometer-high mountain in Gale Crater. Since its descent in 2012, the rover has been exploring this crater.

Black and white panorama of Mars The original, uncolored version of the morning panorama captured by Curiosity. (NASA)

Marker Band Valley, a “sulphate-bearing region” where Curiosity discovered unexpected signs of an ancient lake visible in the distance. Farther away, you can see two hills called Bolivar and Deepil.

“Anyone who has been to a national park knows that the scenery looks different in the morning than it does in the afternoon. Capturing twice a day provides darker shadows because the lighting is coming from left and right, as in, as in, Curiosity engineer Doug Ellison said in a press release,” Curiosity engineer Doug Ellison said in a press release. “Instead of stage lights, we depend on the sun.”

Afternoon panorama The original, uncolored version of this afternoon’s panorama captured by Curiosity. (NASA/JPL)

Also, because the image was taken by a camera looking beyond the back of the rover, you can also see three antennas and the rover’s nuclear power source (“Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator.””) The radiation assessment detector in the image is designed to help scientists understand radiation on the planet and how Future astronauts can be protected from it.


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