Even better photographs of Mt. Sharp, the rover's eventual science destination.
In the latest of NASA's stunning images from Mars, the Jet Propulsion Lab team released this photograph of the "layered buttes" at the base of Mt. Sharp, the Curiosity rover's eventual target terrain.
The image was taken with the 100-millimeter Mastcam, and white balanced for how the rocks would look with Earth's light and atmosphere. (If you were standing looking at this scene on Mars, everything would look redder.) For scale, the mound directly in the center of the image is about 300 feet high.
The team also released a mosaic of images showing the very peak of Mt. Sharp, the mountain in the center of Gale Crater, the depression in which the rover is sitting. The rover won't ascend to the 18,000-foot peak, but will head to the base of the mountain. (The image below has also been white balanced for earth conditions.)
Alexis C. Madrigal is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology.