Science

NASA News: Mars Curiosity Rover Finds Rock Layered Formations Similar To Earth's

By Jiran , Sep 13, 2016 04:06 AM EDT
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Last September 8, NASA's Curiosity Rover in Mars explored the Murray Buttes Region of Mars and took and sent back photos of layered rock formations, which are, interestingly enough, quite similar to the Earth's landscape.

The Curiosity's Mast Camera, which was designed to take color images and record video footages, was used to take the said photos. NASA is planning to stitch them all to take a panorama for a better viewing of the terrain.

"The layered geologic past of Mars is revealed in stunning detail in new color images returned by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, which is currently exploring the 'Murray Buttes' region of lower Mount Sharp. The new images arguably rival photos taken in U.S. National Parks." NASA said in a report.

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California believe that the buttes and mesas that rise above the Martian surface were eroded fragments of ancient sandstones that formed when winds deposited sand after the formation of lower Mount Sharp.

These Martian hills and plateaus are covered with wind erosion-resistant rock, which helps preserve the monumental leftovers of rock layers that used to more fully cover the underlying layers.

Curiosity Project scientist Ashwin Vasavada, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that studying the buttes up close provided scientists with a better understanding and comprehension of the ancient sand dunes in the red planet.

Curiosity's long-term prime destination, Mount Sharp or is officially better known as Aeolis Mons, the place where the rover landed last 2012 and reached the mountain's base where the rover found proofs on surrounding plains that the ancient lakes of the red planet could have had supported microbes to live on the planet.

Curiosity has already exited the hills, where it has been exploring for more than a month. The rover started its latest drilling campaign on a new location last September 9 and once the drilling is completed, Curiosity will continue to cross higher up Mount Sharp, where it would leave behind the spectacular rock formations.

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