During the month of April Mars will be in conjunction relative to the Earth. This means the Sun is in the line-of-sight between Earth and Mars, and communication between the two planets is almost impossible. For conjunction, the rovers and orbiting spacecraft at Mars continue to operate, but do not send the data to Earth. This recorded data will be sent to Earth when Mars moves away from the sun and the line-of-sight between Earth and Mars is reestablished. During conjunction the THEMIS image of the day will be a visual tour of Gale Crater, the location of the newest rover Curiosity. Our first image of Gale Crater contains the landing site of the rover in approximately the center of the image. The dark material is sand in the form of dunes, which the rover will have to navigate through to get to the layered central deposit. The layered deposit is called Mt. Sharp.
Orbit Number: 23897 Latitude: -4.47891 Longitude: 137.465 Instrument: VIS Captured: 2007-05-04 22:01
Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University
Note: This is the second in a series of images in which the THEMIS team is currently showing the northern ring of Gale Crater, between the impact crater's rim to the north and Mount Sharp to the south. The images are being shown from west to east. All of the images in this series I will name "Gale Crater (XXXX) #Y", in which XXXX is the year in which the photo was actually taken, and Y is the sequence number (1 through...).