Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NASA Curiosity Rover: Next Science Destination - The Kimberley

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of various rock types at waypoint called "the Kimberley" shortly after arriving at the location on April 2, 2014. 

The site offers a diversity of rock types exposed close together in a decipherable geological relationship to each other.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has reached its next study area and is now scoping out rocks that it will take an up-close look at over the next few weeks.

The Curiosity rover snapped new photos of Mars after driving 98 feet (30 meters) on Wednesday (April 2) and topping a small hill that affords a good view of the surrounding area, which NASA scientists have dubbed "the Kimberley," officials said.

"This is the spot on the map we've been headed for, on a little rise that gives us a great view for context imaging of the outcrops at the Kimberley," Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the science team lead for Curiosity's work at the site, said in a statement.

This view from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover was taken the day before the rover's final approach drive to "the Kimberley" waypoint, selected months ago as the location for the mission's next major investigations. 

It combines several frames taken by the Navigation Camera on April 1, 2014.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Four different types of rock intersect at the Kimberley, providing Curiosity with a wealth of material to study.

The rover is expected to do a great deal of work at the site, conducting its most extensive analyses since leaving a spot called "Yellowknife Bay" last year, NASA officials said.

Curiosity found evidence of an ancient stream-and-lake system at Yellowknife Bay, suggesting that the area could have supported microbial life billions of years ago.

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