Wide 'Vera Rubin Ridge' Ahead of Curiosity Mars Rover
This panorama from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows details of "Vera Rubin Ridge," which stretches about 4 miles (6.5 kilometers), end-to-end, on the northwestern flank of lower Mount Sharp.
The view combines 112 images taken with the Mastcam's right-eye camera, which has a telephoto lens, on April 4, 2017, during the 1,657th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars. It has been white-balanced so that colors of the rock and sand materials resemble how they would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth. It spans from east-southeast on the left to south-southwest on the right, from a rover location about half a mile (0.8 kilometer) from the closest part of the ridge.
Hematite, an iron-oxide mineral, has been detected in this ridge by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ridge has been an identified destination for Curiosity since before the rover's August 2012 landing near the base of Mount Sharp, inside Gale Crater.
The ridge was informally named in early 2017 in memory of Vera Cooper Rubin (1928-2016), whose astronomical observations provided evidence for the existence of the universe's dark matter.
Figure 1 is an annotated version with scale bars indicating dimensions, in meters, at two distances from the rover. The nearer scale bar refers to features about 2,000 feet (610 meters) from the camera, near the base of the ridge. The farther scale bar refers to features about 2,300 feet (700 meters) from the camera, at the top of the ridge.
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Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the Mastcam. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.