Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Mars Exploration News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















MARSDAILY
NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Climbing Toward Ridge Top
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Sep 14, 2017


The Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover captured this view of "Vera Rubin Ridge" about two weeks before the rover starting to ascend this steep ridge on lower Mount Sharp. Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. For a larger version of this image please go here.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has begun the steep ascent of an iron-oxide-bearing ridge that's grabbed scientists' attention since before the car-sized rover's 2012 landing. "We're on the climb now, driving up a route where we can access the layers we've studied from below," said Abigail Fraeman, a Curiosity science-team member at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"Vera Rubin Ridge" stands prominently on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp, resisting erosion better than the less-steep portions of the mountain below and above it. The ridge, also called "Hematite Ridge," was informally named earlier this year in honor of pioneering astrophysicist Vera Rubin.

"As we skirted around the base of the ridge this summer, we had the opportunity to observe the large vertical exposure of rock layers that make up the bottom part of the ridge," said Fraeman, who organized the rover's ridge campaign. "But even though steep cliffs are great for exposing the stratifications, they're not so good for driving up."

The ascent to the top of the ridge from a transition in rock-layer appearance at the bottom of it will gain about 213 feet (65 meters) of elevation - about 20 stories. The climb requires a series of drives totaling a little more than a third of a mile (570 meters). Before starting this ascent in early September, Curiosity had gained a total of about 980 feet (about 300 meters) in elevation in drives totaling 10.76 miles (17.32 kilometers) from its landing site to the base of the ridge.

Curiosity's telephoto observations of the ridge from just beneath it show finer layering, with extensive bright veins of varying widths cutting through the layers.

"Now we'll have a chance to examine the layers up close as the rover climbs," Fraeman said.

Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada of JPL said, "Using data from orbiters and our own approach imaging, the team has chosen places to pause for more extensive studies on the way up, such as where the rock layers show changes in appearance or composition. But the campaign plan will evolve as we examine the rocks in detail. As always, it's a mix of planning and discovery."

In orbital spectrometer observations, the iron-oxide mineral hematite shows up more strongly at the ridge top than elsewhere on lower Mount Sharp, including locations where Curiosity has already found hematite. Researchers seek to gain better understanding about why the ridge resists erosion, what concentrated its hematite, whether those factors are related, and what the rocks of the ridge can reveal about ancient Martian environmental conditions.

"The team is excited to be exploring Vera Rubin Ridge, as this hematite ridge has been a go-to target for Curiosity ever since Gale Crater was selected as the landing site," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist of NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's Washington headquarters.

During the first year after its landing near the base of Mount Sharp, the Curiosity mission accomplished a major goal by determining that billions of years ago, a Martian lake offered conditions that would have been favorable for microbial life. Curiosity has since traversed through a diversity of environments where both water and wind have left their imprint. Vera Rubin Ridge and layers above it that contain clay and sulfate minerals provide tempting opportunities to learn even more about the history and habitability of ancient Mars.

MARSDAILY
Five Years Ago and 154 Million Miles Away: Touchdown!
Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 03, 2017
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, which landed near Mount Sharp five years ago this week, is examining clues on that mountain about long-ago lakes on Mars. On Aug. 5, 2012, the mission team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, exalted at radio confirmation and first images from Curiosity after the rover's touchdown using a new "sky crane" landing method. Transmissi ... read more

Related Links
Curiosity at JPL
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

MARSDAILY
Researchers create first global map of water in moon's soil

Call For Ideas For Research On The Deep Space Gateway

Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry

Roscosmos Approves Luna-25 Space Station Model in Moon Exploration Project

MARSDAILY
Spacecraft passes docking test

China, Russia to Have Smooth Space Cooperation, Says Expert

Kuaizhou-11 to send six satellites into space

Russia, China May Sign 5-Year Agreement on Joint Space Exploration

MARSDAILY
NASA-funded research at USC provides evidence of ground-ice on asteroids

Radar Reveals Two Moons Orbiting Asteroid Florence

Sling-shot show for NASA spacecraft over Australia

NASA's Asteroid-Bound Spacecraft to Slingshot Past Earth

MARSDAILY
Hibernation Over, New Horizons Continues Kuiper Belt Cruise

Pluto features given first official names

Jupiter's Auroras Present a Powerful Mystery

New Horizons Files Flight Plan for 2019 Flyby

MARSDAILY
Cassini Makes its 'Goodbye Kiss' Flyby of Titan

Cassini Spacecraft Demise Is Bittersweet for PSI's Hansen

Cassini readies final plunge into Saturn

CU Boulder Scientists Ready for Cassini Mission to Saturn Grand Finale

MARSDAILY
Team gathers unprecedented data on atmosphere's organic chemistry

Who is the chief culprit of dust concentrations over East Asia?

Boeing to Design and Build Seven Medium Earth Orbit Satellites for SES

Airbus to reshape Earth observation market with its Pleiades Neo constellation

MARSDAILY
Diet tracker in space

Three astronauts blast off for five-month ISS mission

Crewed Missions Beyond LEO

Voyager Spacecraft: 40 Years of Solar System Discoveries

MARSDAILY
Hubble observes pitch black planet

The return of the comet-like exoplanet

Does the Organic Material of Comets Predate our Solar System?

X-rays Reveal Temperament of Possible Planet-hosting Stars




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement