One of the questions that puzzled mission scientists before Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on Mars was how there could be a 3.4-mile-high mountain in the middle of an impact crater.
Data collected by the Curiosity rover are challenging our understanding of Martian geology, as members of the Geological Society of America learned last month when several presentations at their annual meeting featured analysis of these data.
The latest news from Curiosity is that on Sept. 24 the Mars rover collected its first powdered-rock sample from Mount Sharp.
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.