Friday, September 26, 2014

Pahrump Hills Outcrop

This southeastward-looking vista from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop and surrounding terrain seen from a position about 70 feet (20 meters) northwest of the outcrop.

The component images were acquired on September 17, 2014, during the 751st Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars. The rover team used these images to select a first drilling site on Pahrump Hills, which is part of the base layer of Mount Sharp. The selected drilling location is in the near portion of the pale outcrop to the right of the sand ripples.

The scene includes four distinct features:
1. Sand ripples in foreground, typical of those along the floors of valleys in this area within Gale Crater
2. The Pahrump Hills section of the Murray formation, where approximately 60 vertical feet (18 meters) of rock layers are exposed
3. A darker ridge off in the distance toward the left
4. Northwestern slopes of Mount Sharp in the background, where an abrupt transition is apparent between the buttes and valleys in the lower part and the tilted and carved beds of the upper part

This view combines several exposures taken by the Mastcam's left-eye camera. The color has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Note: For more information, see PIA18607: Curiosity Mars Rover's Route from Landing to 'Pahrump Hills', PIA18609: First Sampling Hole in Mount Sharp, PIA18610: Resistant Features in 'Pahrump Hills' Outcrop, and NASA Rover Drill Pulls First Taste From Mars Mountain.

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