04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop Team
04.20.2017 Subcritical Water Extractor
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop
04.20.2017 Atacama Landscape
03.30.2017 Measuring Mars' Atmosphere Loss
03.29.2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Theisinger
03.29.2017 A Decade of Compiling the Sharpest Mars Map
03.21.2017 Break in Raised Tread on Curiosity Wheel
03.17.2017 COBALT/JPL team
03.09.2017 Back-to-Back Martian Dust Storms
02.27.2017 Swirling Dust in Gale Crater, Mars, Sol 1613
02.27.2017 Dust Devil Passes Near Martian Sand Dune
02.27.2017 Sand Moving Under Curiosity, One Day to Next
02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
Rock Types in Gale Crater, AnnotatedThis oblique view of the mound in Gale Crater shows several different rock types of interest to the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
The lower part of the mound consists of layers of rock in which orbiting instruments have detected the signatures of clay minerals and sulfate salts. Mars scientists have several important hypotheses about how these minerals reflect possible changes in the Martian environment, particularly changes in the amount of water on the surface of Mars. The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, will use its full suite of instruments to study these minerals and how they formed to give us insights into these ancient Martian environments. These rocks are also a prime target in the search for organic molecules since these environments may have been habitable -- able to support microbial life. Scientists will study how organic molecules, if present, vary with mineralogical variations in the layers to understand how they formed and what influences their preservation.
A canyon (marked by the upper arrow) was cut through these layers after they formed. This canyon, much like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, exposes layers of rock representing tens or hundreds of millions of years of environmental change. Curiosity will be able to investigate these layers, gaining access to a long history of environmental change on the planet.
The canyon also contains sediment that was transported by the water that cut the canyon. This sediment interacted with the water at a time in which the environment may have been habitable. Thus, the rocks deposited at the mouth of the canyon (marked by the lower arrow) form a third target in the search for organic molecules.
The lighter colored rocks with a very different texture near the top of the image are also of interest. They appear to be very soft and easily eroded by the wind, unlike the rock layers lower in the mound. The composition of these rocks is entirely unknown; none of the orbiting instruments have detected distinctive signatures from them. If Curiosity travels as far up the mound as these rocks, we will be able to determine their composition and possibly their origin.
This three-dimensional perspective view was created using visible-light imaging by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. Three-dimensional information was derived by stereo analysis of image pairs. The vertical dimension is not exaggerated. Color information is derived from color imaging of portions of the scene by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.
The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is being prepared for launch during the period Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, 2011. In a prime mission lasting one Martian year -- nearly two Earth years -- after landing, researchers will use the rover's tools to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving clues about whether life existed.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter projects for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment. The European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, operates the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission. The High Resolution Stereo Camera was developed by a group with leadership at the Freie Universitat Berlin.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/UA