Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Latest View of Curiosity Rover in Gale Crater

Mars image from the orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

A view from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on April 8, 2015, catches sight of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover at the center of the image, passing through a valley called "Artist's Drive" on the lower slope of Mount Sharp. The image from the orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera shows the rover's position after a drive of about 75 feet (23 meters) during the 949th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. Oddly, the rover’s tracks are not visible nearby, maybe because the surfaces it has driven over lately don't make high-contrast lines, or maybe some blowing dust has recently erased the tracks.

North is toward the top. The view covers an area about 550 yards (500 meters) across.

Curiosity used a route through Artist's Drive on its way toward higher layers on Mount Sharp after examining exposures of the mountain's basal geological unit at "Pahrump Hills." The rover parked over dark sand in a valley bounded by light-toned rock outcrops. These rocks make up the “Pahrump” member of the Murray Formation, a suite of sandstones, siltstones, and calcium sulfate veins that compose the lowermost exposed rocks of Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons) in Gale Crater.

A wider map of the area is at: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA19390

This image is an excerpt from HiRISE observation ESP_040770_1755. Other image products from this observation are available at: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ESP_040770_1755

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project and Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. 

Credit: NASAuahirise.org

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