Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some New Pictures from Curiosity

The latest images are the most detailed yet from the nuclear- powered 2,000lb Curiosity, which landed in the Gale Crater, south of Mars’s equator.

They show layers of rocks – similar to the red and grey tiers of the Grand Canyon in Arizona in the US – near the base of the three-mile-high Mount Sharp at the centre of the 96-mile-wide crater.

The colour of one of the images – taken by Curiosity’s 100mm telephoto camera, one of 17 on board – is enhanced to show the scene under the same lighting conditions here on Earth, which helps scientists to analyse the terrain.

Previous surveys of Mars have shown the layers contain clays and other minerals that usually form in the presence of water.

Although Mars is now a desert planet, millions of years ago its surface was carved by oceans, lakes and waterfalls.

The gravelly land in the foreground of the main picture is the landing area, named Bradbury Landing in tribute to the American science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, who died in June.

The ground eventually rises up to the edge of a crater, behind which lies a field of darker dunes leading up to the bottom of Mount Sharp.
 Article and more photos here.

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