PIA18608: Curiosity Mars Rover's Approach to 'Pahrump Hills'
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
 Spacecraft:  Curiosity
 Instrument:  Mastcam
 Product Size:  6886 x 2279 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA18608.tif (47.1 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA18608.jpg (2.455 MB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

This southeastward-looking vista from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop and surrounding terrain seen from a position about 70 feet (20 meters) northwest of the outcrop.

The component images were acquired on Sept. 17, 2014, during the 751st Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars. The rover team used these images to select a first drilling site on Pahrump Hills, which is part of the base layer of Mount Sharp. The selected drilling location is in the near portion of the pale outcrop to the right of the sand ripples.

The scene includes four distinct features:
1. Sand ripples in foreground, typical of those along the floors of valleys in this area within Gale Crater
2. The Pahrump Hills section of the Murray formation, where approximately 60 vertical feet (18 meters) of rock layers are exposed
3. A darker ridge off in the distance toward the left
4. Northwestern slopes of Mount Sharp in the background, where an abrupt transition is apparent between the buttes and valleys in the lower part and the tilted and carved beds of the upper part

This view combines several exposures taken by the Mastcam's left-eye camera. The color has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.

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.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.

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