Curiosity has reached the base of Mount Sharp. The Mars rover’s wheels are now on material that is part of the mountain, material different from the type Curiosity landed on two years ago.
Curiosity still has the pedal to the metal on its journey to Mount Sharp, the layered mountain amid the crater where the Mars rover landed
Mars rover Curiosity is making steady progress toward Murray Buttes, at the base of Mount Sharp. The science lab on wheels will cross the basaltic sand dune field at Murray Buttes and begin the final approach to the layered, clay-rich rocks of Mount Sharp.
The rock at Kimberley, a science stop for the Mars rover Curiosity enroute to Mount Sharp, is sandstone. Sandstone is usually formed in a two-step process.
Curiosity is currently at Kimberly, a science stop on the way to Mount Sharp. In charting the route to Mount Sharp, mission planners saw this spot as the best science stop along the way.
The Mars rover Curiosity has been on its journey to Mount Sharp for several months, but for the past few weeks it has had the “pedal to the metal” to reach its next stop — a waypoint called Kimberley.
One of the main objectives of the Curiosity mission to Mars is to study the lower reaches of Mount Sharp. The exposed geology here could add supporting evidence to the discoveries made at Yellowknife Bay last March.
While at Yellowknife Bay, Curiosity collected a drilled rock sample that was later age-dated by using its science instruments in two different ways.
The surface of Mars has a rich geological record, and the Curiosity rover is reading that record by sampling the rocks and soils at different locations along its route to Mount Sharp.
The past several weeks have been a busy time for the Mars rover Curiosity. Events included stops at two waypoints on the way to Mount Sharp, the longest one-day drive of its journey so far and the discovery of the apparent absence of methane in the Martian atmosphere.