Category Archives: Curiosity

‘We’re Here!': Curiosity rover arrives at Mount Sharp on Mars

The hills beckon: the mesas and buttes in the foothills of Mount Sharp where Curiosity will soon be exploring. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The hills beckon: the mesas and buttes in the foothills of Mount Sharp where Curiosity will soon be exploring. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

After a long, and at times risky two-year journey, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has reached the base of the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, the primary destination since its landing back in 2012. Mount Sharp is about the same height as Mount Rainier on Earth and sits in the middle of the expansive Gale crater. The arrival was announced on Thursday, Sept. 11 at a NASA telecon which discussed Curiosity’s achievements so far and what else now awaits at the mountain.

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Image Gallery: speckled rocks in Owens Valley

Brightly speckled rocks overturned by the rover's wheels at the edge of Owens Valley. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cropped image of brightly speckled rocks overturned by the rover’s wheels at the edge of Owens Valley. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Some interesting images taken on sol 739 by the Curiosity rover on Mars, at the entrance to Owens Valley. Some of the rocks here were overturned by the rover’s wheels and three of them here have a very speckled appearance with white spots. No word yet on what ChemCam analysis may have shown, but perhaps other geologists have some idea as to what these are?

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Image Gallery: ‘bones’ in Hidden Valley

"Bone" seen by Curiosity on sol 719. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Bone” seen by Curiosity on sol 719. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This photo taken a few days ago by the Curiosity rover has been getting a lot of attention. The object near the centre of the image looks a lot like a femur-type bone! This image was taken on sol 719 of the mission, at the entrance to Hidden Valley where Curiosity is ready to start drilling again at a site just a few feet away called Bonanza King.

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Curiosity rover celebrates second anniversary on Mars as it approaches mountain goal

A “self-portrait” of the Curiosity rover in Yellowknife Bay, with part of Mount Sharp in the background. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A “self-portrait” of the Curiosity rover in Yellowknife Bay, with part of Mount Sharp in the background. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Curiosity rover has been actively exploring Mars for two years now, and as it celebrated its second anniversary today, Aug. 5, it is also, after a lengthy journey, approaching its primary mission goal: the massive Mount Sharp in the middle of Gale crater.

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Image Gallery: Martian meteorites in Gale crater

Possible meteorite found by Curiosity, sol 640. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Possible meteorite found by Curiosity, sol 640. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity has come across what appear to be a couple of meteorites in Gale crater. No official word yet, but the consensus seems to be that these are indeed meteorites, and fairly large ones, given their similarity to other confirmed meteorites found previously by both the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. Their shininess indicates that they are likely iron meteorites. It is more common to find meteorites on Mars than on Earth, given the thinner atmosphere and slower erosion rates.

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Curiosity completes third drilling in search of Martian organics

Image of new drill holes at the Windjana location created by the Curiosity rover. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Image of new drill holes at the Windjana location created by the Curiosity rover. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The Curiosity rover has now completed its third successful drilling, this time in Martian sandstone, it was announced yesterday, May 6, 2014, by NASA.

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Image Gallery: Curiosity ‘selfie’ at Mount Remarkable

"Selfie" of Curiosity at Mount Remarkable. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Damia Bouic

“Selfie” of Curiosity at Mount Remarkable. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Damia Bouic

The Curiosity rover has taken another great “selfie” image of itself as it sits parked at Mount Remarkable, the butte where it will soon do some more drilling. This is another beautiful montage by Damia Bouic consisting of many separate images spliced together. Mount Remarkable is just out of view to the left and Mount Sharp is in the distance. The full-size image is here.

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Image Gallery: delicate erosion and sand flows at Mount Remarkable

Very thin, delicate-looking "lattice-like" protrusion of rock at Mount Remarkable, one of the three main buttes at The Kimberley. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Very thin and delicate-looking “lattice-like” protrusion of rock near the base of Mount Remarkable, one of the three main buttes at The Kimberley. Sol 601. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The rock outcrops at Mount Remarkable, one of the three main buttes at The Kimberley location where the Curiosity rover is now are a geological bonanza, with a wide variety of rock types and formations. The buttes are surrounded by finely layered rock slabs, and some of the smaller features seen are amazingly delicate-looking, like in these two photos. Original larger images here and here.

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Image Gallery: Mount Remarkable and Cape Tribulation

Mount Remarkable as seen by Curiosity on sol 603. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Damia Bouic

Mount Remarkable as seen by Curiosity on sol 603. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Damia Bouic

Two more great panoramic images from Damia Bouic, showing the current locations of the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers on Mars. The first from Curiosity is a view of Mount Remarkable, one of the three main buttes in The Kimberley region, where Curiosity will soon do more drilling to search for organics. In the second, Opportunity looks at the Cape Tribulation hills on the edge of Endeavour crater which it is continuing to travel towards in search of more clay minerals.

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Image Gallery: sunset in Gale crater

Sunset in Gale crater, as seen by Curiosity. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Damia Bouic

Sunset in Gale crater, as seen by Curiosity. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Damia Bouic

Another beautiful postcard panorama from Damia Bouic, this time showing a dusky sky during sunset as seen by Curiosity in Gale crater. In this view, the Sun is setting behind the western mountainous rim of the huge crater. Scenes like this are amazingly reminiscent of Earth, even though Mars is a truly alien world in many ways.

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