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Mars Or Earth? NASA's Perseverance Rover Captures Stunning Earth-Like Photo

NASA just shared its latest batch of photos from its Perseverance rover on Mars, one of which looks like it could have been taken right here on Earth. While there are seemingly endless things to explore in space, Mars has really captured the attention of scientists, astronomers, and just everyday people. Whether it be the curiosity of finding life on Mars or working to make the planet habitable for future humans, Mars poses numerous questions that a lot of folks are working to answer. Just last week, NASA's InSight probe created an interior map of the Martian planet to better understand its many layers and how they compare to Earth.

Perseverance was launched into space in July 2020, landed on Mars this past February, and has spent the last few months patrolling the planet. It's looking for new information about its environment, collecting rock samples, and hunting for signs of ancient life. Perseverance is also joined by the Ingenuity helicopter, which can take flight and explore areas not reachable by its rover sibling. Ingenuity recently crossed a huge flight milestone, and Perseverance can now use its self-driving system to explore Mars on its own. In other words, the mission has been going incredibly well.

Related: NASA's Mars Probe Looked Inside The Planet

NASA regularly shares photos taken directly from Perseverance and dumps them on its website for everyone to see. There are already 117,018 total images available, with this latest update adding 833 new ones to the mix. While all of the new photos are impressive for their own reasons, the one above is especially noteworthy. Captured with one of Perseverance's Mastercams (cameras representing the 'head' of the rover), the image shows a set of hills on Mars' surface. They have varying heights, subtle details in the rocks/sand they're made of, and are set against a calming yellow sky. At first glance, it'd be easy to mistake this for a picture taken somewhere on Earth.

While certain shots of Mars have a striking resemblance to Earth, there are others that have a very alien feel to them — such as this one captured by Perseverance's Left Navigation Camera. Not only does it showcase how eerie Mars' sky can be, but it also reveals just how barren and lifeless the planet's surface is. There are rocks and dirt just like someone would find on Earth, but there are no trees, grass, pools of water, or any animal life roaming around. These are things scientists have known about Mars for some time, but photos like this remind just how different Mars really is from Earth.

Despite those stark differences, the desire to one day colonize Mars remains top of mind for many people. NASA plans to land humans on Mars by 2033, the European Space Agency has similar goals, and SpaceX is touting it could launch its first crewed Mars mission by 2024. Landing people on Mars will be challenging enough, not to mention all of the logistics that go into making it a livable planet. There may be decades to go before that becomes a reality. Until then, robots like Perseverance and Ingenuity will keep taking these gorgeous photos and offer detailed looks at what could be some humans' future home.

Next: NASA's Mars Helicopter Just Set An Incredible Distance Milestone

Source: NASA

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