Press "Enter" to skip to content

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Views Rhythmic Rock Layers on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured this image of rhythmic rock layers with a repeating pattern of spacing and thickness. The pattern might have been caused by weather or climate cycles occurring while the sediment layers were being deposited, such as dust storms happening at regular intervals in the ancient past. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA’s Curiosity MarsMars is the second smallest planet in our solar system and the fourth planet from the sun. It is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. Iron oxide is prevalent in Mars' surface resulting in its reddish color and its nickname "The Red Planet." Mars' name comes from the Roman god of war.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Mars rover captured this stunning image of rhythmic rock layers with a repetitive pattern in their spacing and thickness. This rhythmic pattern could be the result of ancient weather or climate cycles during the deposition of these sediment layers. For example, dust storms occurring at regular intervals in the ancient past may have played a role in shaping this pattern.

This mosaic is made up of 17 individual images captured in the “Marker Band” area by Curiosity’s Mastcam on November 7, 2022, the 3,646th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The mosaic was captured by Mastcam’s 34-millimeter-focal-length camera.

This image, which has a higher resolution, shows the same rock layers in 17 images taken by Mastcam’s 100-millimeter-focal-length camera. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity is a rover that was sent to Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. The rover was launched on November 26, 2011, and landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. The main objective of the Curiosity mission is to explore the Gale Crater on Mars and study its geology and climate, in order to determine whether the planet has ever had conditions suitable for supporting microbial life. The rover is equipped with a variety of scientific instruments and tools, including a rock-vaporizing laser, a drill for collecting soil and rock samples, and a suite of cameras for capturing images and data.

The Curiosity rover was built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California. JPLThe Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center that was established in 1936. It is owned by NASA and managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The laboratory's primary function is the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA's Deep Space Network. JPL implements programs in planetary exploration, Earth science, space-based astronomy and technology development, while applying its capabilities to technical and scientific problems of national significance.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>JPL leads the mission on behalf of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Mastcam was built and operated by Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego.

Source: SciTechDaily