Slopes of Mount Sharp
This topography map shows a portion of the Gale Crater region on Mars, where NASA's Mars Curiosity rover landed on August 6, 2012. The rover (marked with a star) is currently headed toward "Pahrump Hills," which make up part of the "Murray Formation" of layered rocks.
The white dashed line represents the contact point between rocks of Gale Crater's plains (Aeolis Palus) -- which Curiosity has investigated since landing -- and those at the base of Mt. Sharp (Aeolis Mons). By comparing the two images it can be seen that a small topographic scarp defines the contact region. In addition, the rocks of Aeolis Palus are heavily cratered whereas those of Mount Sharp have fewer craters.
The maps are made using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.
HiRISE is one of six instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. JPL manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.