Curiosity's new photos show Mars rocks (and sky, and dust...)
It's been over four years since Curiosity made its landing on Mars, and the Little Rover that Could is still helping us make new discoveries. In the most recent set of images from the Red Planet, human scientists on Earth have gotten a glimpse of the geological formations of lower Mount Sharp.
In this image, the Gale Crater can be seen to the right.
"Studying these buttes up close has given us a better understanding of ancient sand dunes that formed and were buried, chemically changed by groundwater, exhumed and eroded to form the landscape that we see today," said Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
This image shows the Stimson formation, ancient sandstone that formed by wind-deposited sand after the formation of lower Mount Sharp.
Curiosity had been exploring the region, known as the Murray Buttes, for around a month. It snapped the photos with its Mastcam on September 8 and 9.
In the images, you can see the buttes and mesas of ancient sandstone, slowly eroding away.
The Curiosity team will be using these images to create several large, full-colour mosaics of the Martian landscape.
Curiosity snapped this selfie on lower Mount Sharp on May 11, 2016. It is now making its way farther up Mount Sharp, where it will continue to investigate how and when the habitable conditions on Mars evolved into less habitable conditions.