Monday, June 3, 2013

Mars Rover Update

I'll continue posting some updated NASA photos today by including a few taken by the Mars Curiosity rover.

The first picture below shows evidence for ancient, water-transported sediment on Mars. Rounded pebbles within this sedimentary conglomerate indicate sustained abrasion of rock fragments within water flows that crossed Gale Crater. The key evidence for the ancient stream comes from the size and rounded shape of the gravel in and around the bedrock. This photo shows pieces of gravel embedded in the rock outcrop, called clasts, up to a couple inches (few centimeters) in size and located within a matrix of sand-sized material. Some of the clasts are round in shape, indicating that they were transported by a vigorous flow of water. The grains are too large to have been moved by wind. Erosion of the outcrop results in gravel clasts that protrude from the outcrop and ultimately fall onto the ground, creating the gravel pile in the left foreground.

More evidence of stream flow is shown in the photo below.
The picture below shows the view from Curiosity looking south.
The Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity showed researchers interesting color and patterns in this unnamed rock that has interesting embedded crystals.  The rock is 2.4 inches wide (6 cm).
When Curiosity rolled over some rocks, they broke apart.  The inside of the rock shown below, which is in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Gale Crater, is much less red than typical Martian dust and rock surfaces, with a color verging on grayish to bluish.
The photo below was taken by the Mars orbiter.  It shows the area on Mars where Curiosity has been wandering.

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