September 25, 2012

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 […]
September 21, 2012

Happy final voyage, Endeavour!

I rushed to work this morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the space shuttle Endeavour on its final trip, piggybacking on another plane to its final destination as a museum dust magnet. Well, I suppose there are worse ways […]
September 19, 2012

Squooshed craters

A piece of Mars: Impact craters are typically round circles, so when you see one that isn’t, it’s usually because something has changed its shape into something less perfectly round. These craters are squooshed on the lower right side, as […]
September 9, 2012

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 […]
September 3, 2012

Distances to Mt. Sharp

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Last week NASA released an image from Curiosity showing various distances on the path to Mt. Sharp. I decided to go and see if I could find where they are in spacecraft images. On […]
August 28, 2012

Feathered terrain up on Mt. Sharp, where Curiosity may one day go

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Here is a tiny piece of feathery terrain way up high on Mt. Sharp, the mountain that Curiosity will one day climb. This is a special unit of fine-grained material that has weathered into […]
August 24, 2012

The dunes near Curiosity

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: Here are some of the large, dark dunes not far from where Curiosity has landed. They’re pretty big monsters, 200-300 meters across. Their shape indicates they’ve been formed from two different wind directions: one […]
August 19, 2012

What is Mt. Sharp?

A piece of Gale crater, Mars: What exactly is Mt. Sharp, the big mountain Curiosity is set to climb up? Here’s a picture of what it is: layers and layers and layers and layers. And more layers. Probably sedimentary, but […]
August 13, 2012

Curiosity’s Grand Canyon

A piece of Gale crater, Mars (Aug. 13, 2012): Here is the wall of a large ravine cut into Mt. Sharp, the mountain of layered and eroded sediments that Curiosity will climb. Long ago, this ravine was cut by water, […]