[meteorite-list] Mars Panorama from Curiosity Shows Petrified Sand Dunes
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 16:45:55 -0700 (PDT)
Mars Panorama from Curiosity Shows Petrified Sand Dunes
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
September 11, 2015
Some of the dark sandstone in an area being explored by NASA's Curiosity
Mars rover shows texture and inclined bedding structures characteristic
of deposits that formed as sand dunes, then were cemented into rock.
A panorama from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) that includes a ridge
made of this sandstone is online at:
This sandstone outcrop -- part of a geological layer that Curiosity's
science team calls the Stimson unit -- has a structure called crossbedding
on a large scale that the team has interpreted as deposits of sand dunes
formed by wind. Similar-looking petrified sand dunes are common in the
U.S. Southwest. Geometry and orientation of the crossbedding give information
about the directions of the winds that produced the dunes.
The Stimson unit overlies a layer of mudstone that was deposited in a
lake environment. Curiosity has been examining successively higher and
younger layers of Mount Sharp, starting with the mudstone at the mountain's
base, for evidence about changes in the area's ancient environment.
The dozens of individual Mastcam images combined into this panorama were
taken on Aug. 27, 2015. Curiosity has driven about 103 yards (94 meters)
in the subsequent two weeks, generally southward. Outcrops of the Stimson
unit sandstone are still accessible to the rover, and researchers plan
to use the rover to collect and analyze a drilled sample of Stimson unit
sandstone this month.
Curiosity has been working on Mars since early August 2012. It reached
the base of Mount Sharp last year after fruitfully investigating outcrops
closer to its landing site and then trekking to the mountain.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover's
Mastcam. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California
Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory
Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed
and built the project's Curiosity rover. For more information about Curiosity,
You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov
Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077
dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov / laura.l.cantillo at nasa.gov
Received on Mon 14 Sep 2015 07:45:55 PM PDT