Looking Toward Curiosity Study Areas, Spring 2015
This detailed panorama from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows a view toward two areas on lower Mount Sharp chosen for close-up inspection: "Mount Shields" and "Logan Pass."
The scene is a mosaic of images taken with Mastcam's right-eye camera, which has a telephoto lens, on April 16, 2015, during the 957th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars, before that sol's drive. The view spans from southwest, at left, to west-northwest. The color has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.
By 10 sols later, Curiosity had driven about 328 meters (1,076 feet) from the location where it made this observation to an outcrop at the base of "Mount Shields." A 5-meter scale bar has been superimposed near the center of this scene beside the outcrop that the rover then examined in detail. (Five meters is 16.4 feet.) That study location was chosen on the basis of Mount Shields displaying a feature that geologists recognized from images like this as likely to be a site where an ancient valley was incised into bedrock, then refilled with other sediment.
After a few sols examining the outcrop at the base of Mount Shields, Curiosity resumed driving toward a study area at Logan Pass, near the 5-meter scale bar in the left half of this scene. That location was selected earlier, on the basis of images from orbit indicating contact there between two different geological units. The rover's route from Mount Shields to Logan Pass runs behind "Jocko Butte" from the viewpoint where this panorama was taken.
An unannotated version of this panorama:mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7181
A map of this area is at mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7182.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover's Mastcam. 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. For more information about Curiosity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.nasa.gov/msl.