Curiosity Captures 360-Degree Panorama From Martian Dune

The Mars rover is currently exploring the red planet's active Bagnold Dunes.

06/01/2016 4:26 PM AEDT | Updated 06/01/2016 4:26 PM AEDT

Everyone’s favorite Martian explorer, NASA’s intrepid Curiosity rover, has been getting up close and personal with the red planet’s stunning sand dunes.

On Tuesday, striking images snapped from the top of a particularly imposing dune were released by NASA. When combined, the photos provide a 360-degree view from the 16-foot-high “Namib Dune.” 

This view of the downwind face of "Namib Dune" on Mars covers 360 degrees, including a portion of Mount Sharp on the horizon. The component images of this scene were taken on Dec. 18, 2015, by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover during the 1,197th Martian day of its work on Mars.

NASA says it’s using Curiosity’s data to better understand Mars’ dunes -- particularly how “wind moves and sorts grains of sand in an environment with less gravity and much less atmosphere” than Earth.

The rover is currently examining the Bagnold Dunes, an active band of dunes located on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. According to NASA, some of the Bagnold Dunes are migrating by as much as a yard per Earth year.

This view from NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover shows the downwind side of the "Namib Dune." 

Panoramic photographer Andrew Bodrov has uploaded some of Curiosity’s dune images as a 360-degree panorama that you can spin around on your computer screen. You can check that out here.