NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has given us a stunning glimpse of a Martian day, from sunrise to sunset, in a pair of black-and-white videos. These videos, recorded on November 8, covered a span of 12 hours and showcased Curiosity's shadow gracefully moving across the Martian surface using its Hazard-Avoidance Cameras (Hazcams).
These recordings were part of the final set of commands sent to Curiosity just before the start of the Mars solar conjunction, a period when the Sun aligns between Earth and Mars. This alignment disrupts radio communications, leading to a temporary halt in sending commands to Mars spacecraft. During this conjunction, the rover drivers decided to employ Curiosity's Hazcams to capture 12 hours of snapshots, hoping to catch glimpses of clouds or dust devils that could provide insights into Mars' weather patterns.
While the images didn't reveal significant weather phenomena, they did offer a fascinating depiction of time passing on the Red Planet. These videos, spanning from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time, portray Curiosity's silhouette shifting as the day transitions from morning to afternoon to evening.
The first video, captured by the front Hazcam, looks southeast along Gediz Vallis, a valley situated on Mount Sharp, which Curiosity has been ascending since 2014. The second video, captured by the rear Hazcam, provides a view looking northwest down Mount Sharp's slopes to the floor of Gale Crater.