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The series of nine images making up this animation were taken by the rear Hazard-Avoidance Camera (rear Hazcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover as the rover drove over a dune spanning "Dingo Gap" on Mars. The Hazcam, mounted low on the vehicle's chassis, provides a wide-angle view. Curiosity made this 23-foot (7 meter) drive during the 535th Martian day, or sol, of its work on Mars (Feb. 6, 2014). At the start of the drive, the rover's right-front wheel was already at the crest of the 3-foot-tall (1-meter-tall) dune, with the rover still pointed uphill. By the last three images in the series, the rover was headed downhill.
The light-toned dome on the right side of the horizon is part of Mount Sharp. This drive was westward. The rover's long-term destination on the lower slope of Mount Sharp is still farther west and south from the rover's current location.
Dingo Gap provided an entryway into a valley to the west. The valley appealed to the rover team as a driving route because its terrain includes fewer sharp rocks than alternative routes considered.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the mission's Curiosity rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.