NASA is calling the new images "spectacular," and for good reason. This is view of Mars unlike anything you've ever seen before.
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has sent back its latest images of the Red Planet, and these may be the greatest images it has ever captured. NASA couldn’t hold back in its amazement at the pictures, describing the images as “stunning” and “spectacular” due to the stunning detail that they show in the landscape.
The rover is currently at the base of Mount Sharp in the “Murray Buttes” region, and the photos look like they were captured in a desert here on Earth by a professional National Park Service photographer, according to a Joint Propulsion Laboratory statement.
The pictures were taken with the Mast Camera just a couple days ago on Sept. 8. The rover team will be assembling a few large color mosaics from the many images taken from this location.
Scientists believe that these buttes and mesas on Mars were eroded from ancient sandstone. These ancient sand dunes were altered by groundwater and eventually eroded into the landscape that exists today.
“Curiosity’s science team has been just thrilled to go on this road trip through a bit of the American desert Southwest on Mars,” said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “Studying these buttes up close has given us a better understanding of ancient sand dunes that formed and were buried, chemically changed by groundwater, exhumed and eroded to form the landscape that we see today.”
The statement adds: “Early in its mission on Mars, Curiosity accomplished its main goal when it found and examined an ancient habitable environment. In an extended mission, the rover is examining successively younger layers as it climbs the lower part of Mount Sharp. A key goal is to learn how freshwater lake conditions, which would have been favorable for microbes billions of years ago if Mars has ever had life, evolved into harsher, arid conditions much less suited to supporting life. The mission is also monitoring the modern environment of Mars.”