Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2016 October 5
Explanation: What is this unusual mound on Mars? NASA's Curiosity rover rolling across Mars has come across a group of these mounds that have been labelled Murray Buttes. Pictured is a recently assembled mosaic image of one of the last of the buttes passed by Curiosity on its way up Mt. Sharp -- but also one of the most visually spectacular. The 15-meter tall butte is topped with ancient water-deposited layers in relatively dense -- but now dried-out -- windblown sandstone. The rim of Gale crater is visible in the distance. Curiosity continues to accumulate clues about how Mars changed from a planet with areas wet and hospitable to microbial life to the dry, barren, rusted landscape seen today.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.