Fine-Grained Rock at Base of Martian Mount Sharp

November 18, 2014

This patch of Martian bedrock, about 2 feet (70 centimeters) across, is finely layered rock with some pea-size inclusions. It lies near the lowest point of the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop, which forms part of the basal layer of Mount Sharp.

Researchers used the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover to acquire this view on Nov. 9, 2014, the 803rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. The color has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.

Figure A is a version with a scale bar overlaid on the image.

This mosaic was acquired for a detailed view of the workspace accessible with the rover's robotic arm, in order to plan use of tools on the arm for investigating the rock. Targets in this area, including one called "Pelona," are among the sites that were selected for close-up inspection during Curiosity's second pass driving up the Pahrump Hills outcrop. A two-week first pass up the outcrop used the rover's Mastcam and laser-firing ChemCam for initial survey of targets ranging about 30 feet (9 meters) in elevation.

An image showing the Pahrump Hills walkabout route is at An overhead map showing the walkabout drives, from Sol 780 (Oct. 16) to Sol 794 (Oct. 30) is at

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. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover's Mastcam.




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