Curiosity Rover Shares New Images of Mount Sharp

Posted on August 28, 2012

Mars Curiosity image of Mount Sharp on August 23 2012

NASA's Curiosity rover has returned impressive new images of Mount Sharp, its future science destination, taken by its Mast Camera. Mount Sharp is a mountain inside the Gale Crater where Curiosity landed. The above image was taken Curiosity's 100-millimeter Mast Camera on August 23. The highlighted image shows a rock that is about the same size as Curiosity. You can see a larger version of the image here.

The image below, which is also of Mount Sharp, was also taken by the rover's MastCam. NASA says MastCam data indicates a strong discontinuity in the strata above and below the line of white dots. NASA says, "Strata overlying the line of white dots are highly inclined (dipping from left to right) relative to lower, underlying strata. The inclination of these strata above the line of white dots is not obvious from orbit. This provides independent evidence that the absence of hydrated minerals on the upper reaches of Mount Sharp may coincide with a very different formation environment than lower on the slopes. The train of white dots may represent an 'unconformity,' or an area where the process of sedimentation stopped." A larger version of the image can be found here.

Mars Curiosity Discontinuity in Strata on Mount Sharp on August 23 2012

Mount Sharp (also known as Aeolis Mons) rises about 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) above the floor of Gale Crater. A prime mission of Curiosity is to investigate the area and determine if it ever provided the conditions favorable for life. You can read more about Mount Sharp here.

Photos: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS