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Reading the Rock Record on Mars

21 Jul 2015, 02:43 UTC
Reading the Rock Record on Mars
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Mars Rocks!
This view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows a site where two different types of bedrock meet on lower Mount Sharp. The rover is in a valley just below “Marias Pass.” The color has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth. The paler part of the outcrop, in the foreground, is mudstone similar to what Curiosity examined at “Pahrump Hills.” The darker, finely bedded bedrock higher in the image and overlying the mudstone stratigraphically is sandstone that the rover team calls the “Stimson” unit. The scene covers an area about 10 feet (3 meters) wide in the foreground. Courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
While we’re waiting for more news from New Horizons, I wandered over to the Mars Curiosity web site to look at what our intrepid rover has been doing since scientists regained communications with it. They didn’t have much contact with it when Mars was on the “other side” of the Sun during much of June, so the images slowed to a halt for a short time.
Curiosity is now exploring a region where the rocks are telling us a story about the environmental conditions ...

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