NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover captured these rows of rocks in the foreground and Mount Sharp on the horizon on February 19, 2014. It was the 548th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars. The base of Mount Sharp is the rover’s ultimate goal.
Images taken from orbit and used in planning the rover’s route toward lower slopes of Mount Sharp had piqued researchers interest in the striations on the ground that are formed by these rows of rocks. This particular outcrop is called “Junda.” Similar striations are apparent on other patches of ground along the planned route.
The view is centered toward south-southeast and spans about 160 degrees. It is presented as a cylindrical projection. A stereo view of the scene is available here.
Bottom line: The Mars Curiosity rover is making its way toward the base of Mount Sharp, which is the central peak in the martian Gale Crater. This view is from February 19, 2014 – Sol 548 – or the 548th day of the rover’s work on Mars.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.