Skip to main content

See Curiosity's journey from high above the surface of Mars

Share this story

We've seen plenty of amazing images taken by the Curiosity rover since it landed two-and-a-half years ago. We've also seen some stunning pictures of the rover itself, like the ones of the damage it's sustained, or its many infamous selfies. But a new photo of Curiosity was released last week that offered, for many, an unfamiliar view of the interplanetary robot. It was taken from over 150 miles above the surface of Mars by a camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter called HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment).

HiRISE is just one of six scientific instruments on the orbiter, all of which have been very busy since entering Mars' orbit in 2006. The camera alone has helped scientists map out ancient lakes, make geological observations, and take beautiful images of the planet's surface. The images even helped us find the UK's Beagle 2 lander, a long lost spacecraft, which was thought to have crash-landed in 2003.

The HiRISE camera has followed Curiosity from the start

The new image of the rover is really just the latest of many taken by the orbiter's camera as it followed Curiosity's journey. The HiRISE team has been tracking Curiosity's movements ever since the SUV-sized rover made its daring descent to the red planet in August of 2012. Even from a great distance, it's captured everything from the rover's landing to its first few drives and beyond, watching over it like a big robotic sibling in the sky.

Curiosity Rover HiRISE images


August 6, 2012
Curiosity was captured by the orbiter's HiRISE camera for the first time before it even landed. When this image was taken, the rover still had one minute left in the "seven minutes of terror," a colloquial term used by NASA to describe the harrowing landing process.