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Large-scale crossbedding in the sandstone of this ridge on a lower slope of Mars' Mount Sharp is typical of windblown sand dunes that have petrified. NASA's Curiosity Mars rover used its Mastcam to capture this vista on Aug. 27, 2015. Similarly textured sandstone is common in the U.S. Southwest.
09.11.2015

Vista from Curiosity Shows Crossbedded Martian Sandstone

Large-scale crossbedding in the sandstone of this ridge on a lower slope of Mars' Mount Sharp is common in petrified sand dunes.

The scene combines multiple images taken with both cameras of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Curiosity on Aug. 27, 2015, during the 1,087th Martian day, or sol of the rover's work on Mars. It spans from east, at left, to south-southwest. Figure 1 includes a scale bar of 200 centimeters (about 6.6 feet).

Sets of bedding laminations lie at angles to each other. Such crossbedding is common in wind-deposited sandstone of the U.S. Southwest. An example from Utah is pictured at http://3dparks.wr.usgs.gov/zion/html2/3d153.html .

The sandstone in the image from Mars is part of the Stimson unit on Mount Sharp. The color of the Mastcam mosaic has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth. The component images in the center and upper portion of the mosaic are from Mastcam's right-eye camera, which is equipped with a 100-millimeter-focal-length telephoto lens. Images used in the foreground and at far left and right were taken with Mastcam's left-eye camera, using a wider-angle, 34-millimeter lens.

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates Curiosity's Mastcam. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, built the rover and manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about Curiosity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.nasa.gov/msl .

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


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