Finally Curiosity, NASA’s Mars rover, has reached one of its principal targets on the Red Planet. It has begun exploring the two story high sand dunes on the planet. These are sand dunes located on Mount Sharp’s lower base. This will be followed by fresh investigations of these remarkable extraterrestrial features.
Right now, Curiosity’s primary goal is extracting samples of materials from the sand dunes, which will then undergo further tests and analyses. The tests and analyses will be done using the series of advanced scientific instruments onboard Curiosity.
The rover has captured fresh images of the dunes, which suggest that these Martian structures boast a rippled surface. The said images have been captured from High Dune, a site located in a region known as Bagnold Dunes. To be more precise, the images are captured from the northwestern territories of Mount Sharp.
The said images have been taken using the onboard Mastcam or Mast Camera. According to reports, all those pictures have been clicked during the exploration of November 27. The rover will keep exploring the dunes and determine the changes they undergo with time.
NASA has already gathered some information from its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, according to which the sand dunes on the Red Planet, boast edges that apparently move up to 3 ft per year.
For those who don’t know: the Curiosity rover landed on the Red Planet in August 2012. The rover traveled around Mount Sharp’s base for quite some time. It reached Mount Sharp inside the Gale Crater, the planet’s highest point in 2014. Its main mission since then has been to investigate the higher layers within Gale Crater’s central peak.
Mount Sharp is around 3 miles high. Curiosity is also investigating the region’s lowest sediment layers. So far, the rover has succeeded in gathering evidence for the existence of water that fills a lake-like structure on the planet.
The goal of the ongoing Mars Science Laboratory Project of the US space agency is using Curiosity for gathering information on the evolutionary past of the Red Planet. The scientists also want to use the rover for finding sites on Mars that are potentially habitable. This is because the agency has plans of sending humans to the planet by the 2030s.