Area of Mars Visited by Curiosity Shows Steep Cliffs and Blue Water, It’s a Camera Trick

There are two kinds of hardware presently involved in keeping a close eye on Mars: we have the rovers on the surface (three still active, two American and on Chinese), and the orbiters that spin around the planet (8 still active out of a total of 18 send there). And they all return incredible vistas of a strange place we humans might one day call home.
Image showing a portion of Mars near the Curiosity rover 9 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL/UArizona
Most recent images of Mars taken by CuriosityMost recent images of Mars taken by CuriosityMost recent images of Mars taken by CuriosityNASA Curiosity rover on MarsNASA Curiosity snaps picture of Mars terrainNASA Curiosity rover sned postcard from atop of Mont Mercou on MarsNASA Curiosity rover spots iridescent ice clouds on MarsNASA Curiosity rover on Mars
The two American rovers currently trekking the reddish plains of the planet are the Curiosity and the recently-arrived Perseverance. The former just celebrated its ninth year on the planet back in August, and by any standards that’s a long time out exploring.

But in case of the rovers, a long time doesn’t generally translate into a large distance covered. This particular machine barely moved a little over 16 miles (26 km) from its landing place in the Gale Crater, which is quite a tiny distance by our planet’s standards.

Over the year, the thing sent back a lot of images from the surface of the Red Planet, including, most recently, an overview of the landscape sitting in front of Mount Sharp (check gallery for details). It’s not everyday though that we get to see a place visited by Curiosity from another perspective as well.

That’s exactly what we have here, as the main photo of this piece. An image captured by the HiRISE camera up in orbit around the planet, 266 km (165 miles) high.

You’re looking at “a region near the Curiosity rover,” captured on film back in 2020 as a repeat image, a technique of photographing the same place several times over time, in an attempt to see the changes that occurred.

On account of the filters used by the camera, the region appears to show the edge of some ragtag island, with sharp cliffs rising above the surface of a foamy, Martian sea. The cliffs are real, of course, but the water is only a trick played by said filters on the human eye.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various Curiosity images.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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