Clarksville, TN Online: News, Opinion, Arts & Entertainment.


NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover studies Martian Sand Dunes near Mount Sharp

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has begun an up-close investigation of dark sand dunes up to two stories tall. The dunes are on the rover’s trek up the lower portion of a layered Martian mountain.

The dunes close to Curiosity’s current location are part of “Bagnold Dunes,” a band along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater. Observations of this dune field from orbit show that edges of individual dunes move as much as 3 feet (1 meter) per Earth year.

The rippled surface of the first Martian sand dune ever studied up close fills this Nov. 27, 2015, view of "High Dune" from the Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The rippled surface of the first Martian sand dune ever studied up close fills this Nov. 27, 2015, view of “High Dune” from the Mast Camera on NASA’s Curiosity rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The rover’s planned investigations include scooping a sample of the dune material for analysis with laboratory instruments inside Curiosity.

Curiosity has been working on Mars since early August 2012. It reached the base of Mount Sharp in 2014 after fruitfully investigating outcrops closer to its landing site and then trekking to the mountain.

The main mission objective now is to examine successively higher layers of Mount Sharp.

Fast Facts:

Curiosity is using its wheels, as well as its science payload, to investigate sand that forms active dunes on Mars.

Plans call for the rover to scoop up and sieve sand for onboard laboratory analysis.

A view of the rippled surface of what’s been informally named “High Dune” is online at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA20168

A wheel track exposing material beneath the surface of a sand sheet nearby is at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA20169

For more information about Curiosity, visit:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl


Sections

Technology

Topics

, , , , , , , , , ,

Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.


  • Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our FeedVisit Us On Instagram
  • Personal Controls

    Archives