ESP_029034_1750_1.0x_MSLA piece of Mars: Curiosity has been trolling around on Mars for one martian year, so I think it’s time I posted an update on where it is and what it’s seeing. Right now (late June 2014), the rover is rolling across meter-sized ripples, heading south toward Mt. Sharp. In the near future there will be even more impressive ripples, and then finally the terrain will start to grow more interesting. I will post more of these in the months to come. (HiRISE ESP_029034_1750, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Comments (7)

  1. The Dot is directly parallel to the west of the writing REALLY(cool terrain to come) and directly south of the O in the word TO (bigger ripples TO come) so were on the same page…

    That was a possibility in my mind… It being a boulder…
    But on the side of a ridge facing a mountain…? And it’s completely different from any elements around it?
    And appears to be incredibly circular…

    Could a boulder be covered in a different color element than anything around it?

    Which leads me to believe it is a solid element.

    Perhaps a meteorite? Like the picture of the Iron meteorite posted recently…?

    There Doesn’t appear to be an impact zone though…?

    1. Yeah, that looks like coordinates for the dark blue spot I found. I think it’s a boulder. Most of the surrounding surface is partially covered by dust or sand (ripples, for example), which makes the ground look orangey-brown. This is probably a fresh block that fell out from one of the nearby hills. Directly south of the dot is a small field of ripples, and directly south of that is an outcropping hill that has a slightly bluish layer running along the top. My guess is the boulder fell out of that layer, rolled down the hill, across the ripple field, and stopped at the base of the next hill. That’s one possible scenario of many. It could also have been flung there from a far away impact, although I don’t see any other boulders not associated with hills that would have also been flung out with it, so I find that somewhat unlikely. A meteorite that large would have left a hole in the ground, so I don’t think it came from space. And yes, it seems circular, but it’s just at the edge of resolution (3-4 pixels across). Anything with vaguely equidistant proportions will appear circular at that scale (so would a cube, for example).

  2. All the other shadows are uniform across the landscape/ridges…
    So it doesn’t seem to me to be a shadow of or from anything…?

    1. Hi Grant

      If it’s the dot I think you mean, I think that’s a boulder. You mean this one?

      Unfortunately Curiosity’s path is taking it to the west of that area, so there may not be a good image of it. If I get a chance I’ll look through the images and see if there’s something.

  3. I was looking at curiosity’s route (assuming that looking at the picture North is [up] ^)

    Zoomed in: That big Mountain to the south before you get to the ribbed valley…
    What is that Large (relative) Blue Dot just to the north of the large mountain on the ridge??
    I don’t notice anything similar to it at all?
    Is it a pixelation issue? Or a camera issue?
    Or just a blue dot on a ridge on mars??

  4. Hi, Lori a couple questions regarding Curiosity
    A. Did you guy’s glean any good science from Dingo Gap back in the mid 530 sols?
    B. Regarding wheel track punctures the team has abandoned the quick transit route, moving towards a seemingly safe sandier route too Murray buttes, is this new route better for “dune” buggy driving in your opinion?

    1. Hi William

      A. I haven’t seen anything published yet. I went looking through abstracts from recent conferences (and there’s one coming up in 2 weeks too) but I don’t see mention of Dingo Gap or Moonlight Valley. At some point someone will probably work on all of the ripples that Curiosity drove past, looking into orientations and sediment, looking for changes along the traverse. So far that’s only been done for the first part of the traverse — the team is probably waiting till the rover gets into the hills, so they can look at the whole traverse along the plains in a single go. (And if they don’t do it then maybe someday I will.)

      B. I think it’s a safer route. I’ve walked around on ripples much like these while barefoot. If you look where the rover has been, you can see that it pushes down the material in the ripple (like this image, for example). I haven’t heard much from the team, but I’m sure they’re happy those ripples are there. And I’m happy that we have a reason to go near them. 🙂

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