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The Martian Chronicles

Sols 2451-2453: Climbing Higher

29 Jun 2019, 01:00 UTC
Sols 2451-2453: Climbing Higher
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Curiosity has been a bit down lately-in elevation. After exploring the top of Vera Rubin Ridge (VRR) last year, the rover descended into a trough south of the ridge, dropping as much as 15 meters in elevation this spring to explore part of the clay-bearing unit. Curiosity is now back to the highest elevation that it achieved before it left the ridge, about -4140 meters relative to the reference level representing zero elevation on Mars. The image shows the rim of the crater once again visible above Vera Rubin Ridge. Curiosity will continue to climb higher as it explores the rest of the Glen Torridon and then moves on to the sulfate unit and Greenheugh Pediment.
The reference level for Mars elevation is the mean of its areoid, as measured by altimetry and gravity measurements. The pressure at this elevation is very close to the triple point of water, where stability fields of liquid, ice, and vapor come together. In fact, Mars’ areoid was at one time based on the elevation where the atmosphere was at the triple point of water. However, it is easier to define this elevation from gravity and altimetry data.
Today the rover team planned activities ...

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