HiRISE Spots Curiosity Rover and Tracks from Orbit

Amazing, the things a birds-eye view allows you to see. Here’s a color image from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing the tracks of the Curiosity rover. In this most recent HiRISE image of the MSL rover, the tracks are visible from Yellowknife Bay to its location on 11 December 2013, several kilometers to the southwest. Even though some of these tracks are more than a year old, they are still visible.

As HiRISE team member Christian Schaller said via Twitter, “Take only pictures; leave only footprints.” In this case, HiRISE took the pictures while MSL left the footprints!

HiRISE principal investigator Alfred McEwen explained the image: “Curiosity is progressing from the bright dust-covered area to a region with a darker surface, where saltating sand keeps the surface relatively free of dust. The scenery seen by the rover will be getting more interesting as it progresses toward Mount Sharp.”

See a black and white image below, where you can actually see Curiosity, too:

Can you spot the Curiosity rover from orbit? Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

See more details on these images, as well as get access to higher resolution versions at the HiRISE website. You can see a collection of images of Curiosity taken by HiRISE here.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

Recent Posts

Watch This 12-Year Timelapse of Exoplanets Orbiting Their Star

Back in 2008, astronomers made a big announcement: for the first time, they had taken…

21 mins ago

Freezing Ocean Might Not Be Responsible for Cryovolcanic Flows on Pluto’s Moon, Charon

In a recent study scheduled to be published in the journal Icarus in March 2023,…

3 hours ago

South Korea’s Danuri Mission Sends Home Pictures of the Earth and Moon

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) both ended 2022 and started 2023 on a very…

3 hours ago

Soon We’ll Detect Extreme Objects Producing Gravitational Waves Continuously

The cosmic zoo contains objects so bizarre and extreme that they generate gravitational waves. Scorpius…

10 hours ago

The Outer Solar System Supplied a Surprising Amount of Earth’s Water

In a recent study published in Science, a team of researchers at Imperial College London…

12 hours ago

Scientists Examine Geological Processes of Monad Regio on Neptune’s Largest Moon, Triton

In a recent study submitted to the journal Icarus, a team of researchers at the…

12 hours ago