Crater ejecta on old ripples

A Piece of Mars: Mars rarely does anything without drama. Long ago in this 0.96×0.54 km (0.6×0.34 mi) scene, large ripples formed and then, presumably, lithified (turned into rock). Some time after that, an impact formed the crater in the center, throwing debris into an ejecta blanket that covered the lithified ripples. That ejecta blanket

Dunes on crater bones

A piece of Mars. The dark circle (~170 m across) in the middle of the picture is the interior of what used to be a crater. It’s now almost completely eroded away, probably by the wind. Small dunes have formed on these former crater sediments — because the dunes seem to form mostly on this

Winds in Gale crater, ancient and young

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Cream-colored ripples wind their way through rough terrain. Looking more closely, the rocky surface seems to be made of highly eroded parallel ridges that are nearly perpendicular to most of the ripples. These ridges might be a remnant of much older (and larger) wind-blown ripples. When Curiosity drives over

Valley in Mt. Sharp

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Here’s a view of a small piece of Mt. Sharp, both from Curiosity (on the right) and from orbit (on the left, HiRISE ESP_028269_1755). A broad valley visible from the rover is revealed to be a natural staircase of layers, partly covered by dark sand.