A small part of a 360-degree panorama exhibiting the Curiosity Mars rover’s perch on the decrease slopes of Mount Sharpe. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS You may’t stand on Mars – but – however you’ll be able to at the least get a way of what it will appear like, because of NASA’s Curiosity rover now exploring the
A small part of a 360-degree panorama exhibiting the Curiosity Mars rover’s perch on the decrease slopes of Mount Sharpe. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
You may’t stand on Mars – but – however you’ll be able to at the least get a way of what it will appear like, because of NASA’s Curiosity rover now exploring the decrease slopes of Mount Sharp, a 5.5-kilometre (18,000-foot) tall mound of layered rocks on the heart of Gale Crater. The rover just lately wrapped up a year-long keep atop Vera Rubin Ridge and is now concentrating on a close-by trough, nicknamed Glen Torridon, the place Mars orbiters have noticed phyllosilicates, clay minerals that fashioned in water.
“Along with indicating a beforehand moist surroundings, clay minerals are recognized to lure and protect natural molecules,” mentioned Curiosity Venture Scientist Ashwin Vasavada at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “That makes this space particularly promising, and the group is already surveying the world for its subsequent drill web site.”
Earlier than it departed Vera Rubin Ridge, Curiosity collected 122 pictures with its Mastcam digicam that might be stitched collectively to supply a 360-degree panorama of its environment (a 230-megabyte model is on the market right here). The view reveals Glen Torridon and the higher reaches of Mount Sharp, close by drill holes the place the rover collected sub-surface samples, the ground of Gale Crater and a portion of its distant wall.
Evan after a 12 months of research, researchers haven’t but pieced collectively how Vera Rubin Ridge fashioned within the first place, resisting erosion in comparison with surrounding bedrock.
Curiosity confirmed the ridge is made up of sediments that settled to the underside of an historic lake and confirmed the presence of hematite in addition to crystals indicative of the presence of water within the distant previous. However the indicators had been present in patches, prompting hypothesis that floor water affected some elements of the ridge otherwise than others. On high of that, hematite signatures discovered by Curiosity didn’t essentially match maps primarily based on information collected from orbit.
“We’ve had our fair proportion of surprises,” mentioned Curiosity science group member Abigail Fraeman. “We’re leaving with a distinct perspective of the ridge than what we had earlier than.”
Curiosity landed on the ground of Gale Crater in August 2012. About one martian 12 months – 687 Earth days – later, the rover lastly reached the bottom of Mount Sharp and commenced exploring its decrease slopes.
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