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Curiosity captures stunning views of a altering Martian panorama

Curiosity captures stunning views of a altering Martian panorama
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Curiosity captures stunning views of a altering Martian panorama

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured this view of layered, scaly rocks that presumably fashioned in an historic stream mattress or small pond. The six pictures that make up this mosaic had been captured on June 2, 2022, the three 492nd Mars day, or sol, of the mission utilizing Curiosity’s Mast digital camera, or Mastcam. Credit score: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Over the previous 12 months, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has traveled via a transition zone from a clayey area to 1 stuffed with a salt mineral known as sulfate. Whereas the science staff has focused the clairvoyant area and the sulfate-laden one for proof every can present about Mars’ watery previous, the transition zone additionally seems to be scientifically fascinating. In actual fact, this transition could present the document of a significant shift in Mars’ local weather billions of years in the past that scientists are solely starting to know.

The clay minerals fashioned when lakes and streams as soon as rippled over the Gale Crater and deposited sediment at what’s now the bottom of Mount Sharp, the 3-mile-high (5-kilometer-high) mountain whose foothills Curiosity has been rising since 2014. Greater up the mountain within the transition zone, Curiosity’s observations present that the streams dried up in droplets and fashioned sand dunes above the lake sediments.

“We not see the lake deposits we noticed years decrease on Mount Sharp,” stated Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s challenge scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “As a substitute, we see lots of proof of drier climates, resembling dry dunes that generally had currents round them. It is a large change from the lakes which will have lasted tens of millions of years earlier than.”

Because the rover climbs greater via the transition zone, it detects much less clay and extra sulfate. Curiosity will quickly drill the final rock pattern it would take on this zone, offering a extra detailed have a look at the altering mineral composition of those rocks.






Distinctive geological options additionally stand out on this zone. The hills within the space most likely started in a dry setting of enormous, windswept sand dunes, which ultimately hardened into rock. Alternating within the stays of those dunes are different sediments carried by water, maybe deposited in dams or small streams that when weaved between the dunes. These sediments now seem as erosion-resistant stacks of flaky layers, resembling one nicknamed “The Prow.”

To make the story richer and extra advanced, understanding that there have been a number of intervals by which groundwater ebbed and flowed over time left a jumble of puzzle items for Curiosity’s scientists to compile into an correct timeline.

Ten years later, go robust

Curiosity will have a good time its tenth 12 months on March 5 August. Whereas the rover reveals its age after a full decade of exploration, nothing has stopped it from persevering with its climb.

Curiosity captures beautiful views of a changing Martian landscape

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured this 360-degree panorama close to a spot nicknamed Sierra Maigualida on Might 22, 2022. The panorama consists of 133 particular person pictures captured by Curiosity’s Mast digital camera, or Mastcam. Credit score: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

On June 7, Curiosity went into protected mode after detecting a temperature studying on an instrument management case within the trunk of the automobile that was hotter than anticipated. Protected mode happens when a spacecraft detects an issue and robotically shuts off all the pieces however its most important capabilities in order that engineers can assess the state of affairs.

Though Curiosity left protected mode and returned to regular operations two days later, JPL engineers are nonetheless analyzing the precise explanation for the issue. They believe that protected mode was activated after a temperature sensor supplied an inaccurate measurement, and there’s no signal that it’s going to considerably have an effect on robber operations, as backup temperature sensors can be certain that the electronics contained in the rover physique don’t overheat. .

The rover’s aluminum wheels additionally present indicators of damage. On June 4, the engineering staff ordered Curiosity to take new images of its wheels – one thing it did each 3,281 toes (1,000 meters) to test their general well being.

The staff found that the left-middle wheel had broken one among its bigger ones, the zigzag staircase subsequent to Curiosity’s wheels. This explicit wheel already had 4 damaged grousers, so now 5 of its 19 grousers are damaged.

Curiosity captures beautiful views of a changing Martian landscape

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured proof of layers constructed up as windswept sand, each gathered and sanded away at a spot nicknamed “Las Claritas.” This picture was taken on Might 19, 2022, the three,478th March day, or sol, of the mission utilizing Curiosity’s Mast digital camera, or Mastcam. Credit score: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

The beforehand broken grocers have just lately attracted on-line consideration as a result of it appears to be like like among the steel “pores and skin” between them has fallen out of the wheel over the previous few months, leaving a spot.

The staff determined to extend its wheelbase to each 1,640 toes (500 meters) – a return to the unique cadence. A tread management algorithm has slowed wheel put on sufficient to extend the gap between pictures.

“We’ve got confirmed via soil assessments that we will experience safely on the wheel rims if obligatory,” stated Megan Lin, Curiosity’s challenge supervisor at JPL. “If we’re ever reached the purpose the place a single wheel has damaged a majority of its grosers, we will do a managed break to shake off the items which can be left. As a result of current developments, it appears unlikely that we are going to take such steps. “The wheels maintain on tight, offering the traction we have to proceed our climb.”


Curiosity Mars Rover diverts away from ‘gator-back’ rocks


Offered by Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Citation: Curiosity captures stunning views of a altering Martian panorama (2022, June 22) on June 22, 2022 from https://phys.org/information/2022-06-curiosity-captures-stunning-views-mars.html

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