- NASA’s several successful Mars missions have yielded a treasure trove of gorgeous images of the Red Planet.
- A new YouTube video showcases some of the best images captured by the rovers in upscaled 4K resolution.
- NASA’s Mars Perseverance mission is scheduled to launch by mid-August.
Thanks to NASA’s multiple Mars rover missions, the space agency has amassed a large collection of gorgeous panoramas of the Red Planet’s surface over the years. Each new image offers another tiny window into what the dusty, barren world looks like, and they’re some of the best science eye candy around.
Now, a YouTube channel called ElderFox Documentaries has put together a huge collection of the best images from Mars, taken at their highest resolution, and then rendered them in 4K. The result is a 10-minute Mars vacation that is definitely worth your time.
The images showcased in the video come from three separate NASA rover missions. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers were sent to the Red Planet nearly two decades ago, while the Curiosity rover is a more recent arrival. All of the rovers performed well, with Spirit suffering a mishap six years after it arrived and Opportunity lasting a whopping 14 years before a planet-wide dust storm swallowed it up. Curiosity, of course, is still kicking today.
The video does a good job of pointing out a lot of the more interesting features of the planet that the rovers have investigated over the years, including Marathon Valley, the Sulfate Bearing Unit, and Yellowknife Bay, among others.
Of course, it’s impossible to watch this video without imagining the incredible images that the Perseverance rover will be able to send back to Earth once it arrives at Mars. At the moment, the mission doesn’t have a launch date, but the window within which NASA can comfortably launch a mission to Mars is rapidly closing.
NASA had previously stated it would launch the mission before the end of July, but a series of delays meant that that pledge was no longer viable. NASA then said it would still be possible to launch a Mars mission as late as mid-August if it absolutely had to push things back that far. Well, we’re rapidly approaching the end of July and haven’t heard much regarding a concrete launch date.
The coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in the plans of many space agencies around the world, and the European Space Agency even had to delay its 2020 Mars mission as a result. Because of the nature of planetary orbits, the window to launch a mission to Mars won’t open again until 2022, so the ESA will have a while to wait. If for some reason NASA misses its mid-August launch date, it too would have to wait until 2022 to send Perseverance to Mars.