As the departer has connected to arise Mount Sharp, it’s begin characteristic benchlike basement formations
It’s been 3,000 Martian days, or sols, back Curiosity affected bottomward on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, and the departer keeps authoritative new discoveries during its bit-by-bit ascend up Mount Sharp, the 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) abundance it has been exploring back 2014. Geologists were absorbed to see a alternation of basement “benches” in the best contempo panorama from the mission.
Stitched calm from 122 images taken on Nov. 18, 2020, the mission’s 2,946th sol, the panorama was captured by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, which serves as the rover’s capital “eyes.” Against the centermost of the panorama is the attic of Gale Crater, the 96-mile-wide (154 kilometer-wide) basin that Mount Sharp sits within. On the border is the arctic atrium rim. To the appropriate is the high allotment of Mount Sharp, which has basement layers that were shaped by lakes and streams billions of years ago.
The arced basement terraces that ascertain the breadth can anatomy back there are harder and softer layers of basement on a slope. As the softer layers erode, the harder layers anatomy baby cliffs, abrogation abaft the benchlike formations. They can additionally anatomy during a landslide, back huge, arced slabs of basement accelerate downhill. Curiosity’s aggregation has apparent benches afore in Gale Crater, but rarely basic such a breathtaking alignment of steps.
“Our science aggregation is aflame to amount out how they formed and what they beggarly for the age-old ambiance aural Gale,” said Curiosity’s activity scientist, Ashwin Vasavada of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which congenital and manages the rover.
But don’t apprehend a departer this active to break put: Soon afterwards capturing the new panorama, it was off for college ground. This year, the departer has been active beyond a clay-bearing arena alleged “Glen Torridon.” Afterwards authoritative a pit stop at a area nicknamed “Mary Anning,” it’s connected against the abutting above layer, alleged “the sulfate-bearing unit.”
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For added about NASA’s Mars program, visit:
News Media ContactsAndrew GoodJet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, [email protected]
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