Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mars Curiosity Rover Photographs

It has been months since I checked in to see what the Mars rover, Curiosity, is up to. 

In the photo above, a green star marks the location of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover after a drive on the mission's 957th Martian day, or sol, (April 16, 2015).  The map covers an area about 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) wide.

Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012. The drive on Sol 957 brought the mission's total driving distance past the 10-kilometer mark (6.214 miles).  The rover is passing through a series of shallow valleys on a path from the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop, which it investigated for six months, toward its next science destination, called "Logan Pass."

The rover's traverse line enters this map at the location Curiosity reached in mid-July 2014.
The base map uses imagery from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The image above shows a sloping hillside within the "Murray Buttes" region on lower Mount Sharp.
The above photo shows finely layered rocks within the "Murray Buttes" region on lower Mount Sharp.

Two sizes of ripples are evident in the above photo.  Sand dunes and the smaller type of ripples also exist on Earth. The larger ripples are a type not seen on Earth nor previously recognized as a distinct type on Mars.  The "Bagnold Dunes" are located on the northwestern flank of Mars' Mount Sharp.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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