NASA’s Curiosity Rover has transmitted the first high-resolution images of Mount Sharp from the Red Planet. That’s right, “this stunning photographs reveal distinct tiers of near the base of the 3-mile-tall mountain that rises from the floor of the vast, ancient impact basin known as Gale Crater, where Curiosity landed on August 6 to begin its two-year mission.” Continue reading for videos, more pictures, and additional information.
The telephoto images, taken from the 100-millimetre telephoto lens and the 34-milllimetre wide angle lens of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument, beamed back to Earth show a scene of eroded knobs and gulches on a mountainside, with geological layering clearly exposed. Mastcam has photographed the lower slope of the nearby mountain called Mount Sharp.’This is an area on Mount Sharp where Curiosity will go,’ said Mastcam principal investigator Michael Malin of the Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego.
‘Those layers are our ultimate objective. The dark dune field is between us and those layers. In front of the dark sand you see redder sand, with a different composition suggested by its different colour. The rocks in the foreground show diversity – some rounded, some angular, with different histories. This is a very rich geological site to look at and eventually to drive through,’ Malin said.