Ripples Beside 'Pahrump Hills' Outcrop at Base of Mount Sharp
This northeast-facing view from the lower edge of the pale 'Pahrump Hills' outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp includes wind-sculpted ripples of sand and dust in the middle ground. It was taken by Curiosity's Navcam on Nov. 13, 2014.
Fine-Grained, Finely Layered Rock at Base of Martian Mount Sharp
This patch of Martian bedrock, about 2 feet (70 centimeters) across, is finely layered rock with some pea-size inclusions. It lies near the lowest point of the 'Pahrump Hills' outcrop, which forms part of the basal layer of Mount Sharp.
Erosion Resistance at 'Pink Cliffs' at Base of Martian Mount Sharp
This small ridge, about 3 feet long, appears to resist wind erosion more than the flatter plates around it. Such differences are among the traits NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is examining at selected rock targets at the base of Mount Sharp.
Signature of Hematite in 'Confidence Hills' Martian Rock
This side-by-side comparison shows the X-ray diffraction patterns of two different samples collected from rocks on Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover. The images present data obtained by Curiosity's Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin).
This image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows a sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill from the 'Confidence Hills' target -- the first rock drilled after Curiosity reached the base of Mount Sharp in September 2014.
'Confidence Hills' -- The First Mount Sharp Drilling Site
This image shows the first holes drilled by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity at Mount Sharp. The loose material near the drill holes is drill tailings and an accumulation of dust that slid down the rock during drilling.
This image from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows an example of a type of geometrically distinctive feature that researchers are using Curiosity to examine at a mudstone outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp.
This image from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the first sample-collection hole drilled in Mount Sharp, the layered mountain that is the science destination of the rover's extended mission.
Curiosity Mars Rover's Approach to 'Pahrump Hills'
This southeastward-looking vista from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the 'Pahrump Hills' outcrop and surrounding terrain seen from a position about 70 feet (20 meters) northwest of the outcrop.
Curiosity Mars Rover's Route from Landing to 'Pahrump Hills'
This map shows the route driven by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover from the 'Bradbury Landing' location where it landed in August 2012 to the 'Pahrump Hills' outcrop where it drilled into the lowest part of Mount Sharp.
This image, taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the transition between the 'Murray Formation,' in which layers are poorly expressed and difficult to trace from orbit, and the hematite ridge, which is made up of continuous layers.
This image, taken NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows distinct bands of alternating tone and brightness within the 'Murray Formation' on Mars. Outcrops like this are common throughout the formation.
This is a map of lower Mount Sharp on Mars, showing the major geologic units identified from orbit. The rocks of the 'Murray Formation,' mapped in green, likely represent the oldest layers of Mount Sharp that NASA's Curiosity rover will explore.
Data from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity show an unusual enrichment of silicon in the rocks dubbed 'Wildrose' and 'Bonanza King,' relative to other rocks studied at Gale Crater on Mars.
The 'Bonanza King' rock on Mars, pictured here, was tapped by the drill belonging to NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The tapping resulted in sand piling up on the rock after drilling, showing the rock was not firmly in place.
The route of NASA's Mars Curiosity rover up the slopes of Mount Sharp on Mars is indicated in yellow in this image. The rover's current position is marked with a star. This new route provides excellent access to many features in the 'Murray Formation.'
This topography map shows a portion of the Gale Crater region on Mars, where NASA's Mars Curiosity rover landed on August 6, 2014. The rover (marked with a star) is currently headed toward 'Pahrump Hills.'