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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Beautiful rocks ahead at Glenelg, but first, Curiosity must dig in the sand

Posted By Emily Lakdawalla

01-10-2012 17:31 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, amateur image processing, mission status, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

Check out Curiosity's view as of sol 54, gazing east toward Glenelg with the zoomed-in view of Mastcam 100. It doesn't look like much at this resolution; you really have to enlarge it to see the whole thing. Not only are the rocks in view interesting, but there are so many interesting-looking different kinds of rocks, from thin platy ones in the middle to angular cobbles at right to two lumps that look like sleeping sea lions toward the left. So much to see!

Panoramic view of

NASA / JPL / MSSS / James Canvin

Panoramic view of "Glenelg," Curiosity sol 54
A Mastcam 100 mosaic looking at Glenelg. The three rock types that meet at this site are the foreground, the bedrock left/middle distance and the more distant terrain.

Compare it to the orbital view of Glenelg:

Curiosity's first destination: Glenelg

NASA / JPL / UA / Emily Lakdawalla

Curiosity's first destination: Glenelg
A cropped view of a HiRISE image taken 6 days after Curiosity landed includes a "triple junction" of three different rock types. The team named that spot "Glenelg" and planned to make that Curiosity's first driving destination. The rover is visible at far left, surrounded by a dark splash where its landing jets disturbed the dust.

Here's where Curiosity is right now:

Curiosity route map to sol 55

NASA / JPL / UA / Phil Stooke

Curiosity route map to sol 55

But I think we're going to have to wait a bit to enjoy the diverse rocks at Glenelg, because this is what Curiosity has in view right now:

NASA / JPL / Damia Bouic

"Rocknest," Curiosity sol 55
This sand drift, named Rocknest, became the target for Curiosity's first soil sampling. After taking this panorama on sol 55, Curiosity drove slightly to the right and then took a sharp left turn to prepare to position a front wheel on top of the nearest sand drift. Click through for the sol 56 view.

Will this sand ripple be the source of Curiosity's first soil sample? If so, get used to the view, because we're going to be here for two or three weeks. Good thing it's a nice view! Meanwhile, on sol 51, they checked out the soil scoop, which appears to be clean and ready for action:

Curiosity's soil scoop, ready for action (sol 51)


Curiosity's soil scoop, ready for action (sol 51)
Curiosity took this photo on sol 51 (September 27, 2012). The soil scoop is still pristinely clean, before the first attempt at sampling.
See other posts from October 2012


Read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, amateur image processing, mission status, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)


Adrian: 10/02/2012 03:10 CDT

"Check out Opportunity's view as of sol 54, gazing east toward Glenelg with the zoomed-in view of Mastcam 100" wow... Opportunity sure made a looong trip! anyway, Glenleg looks really exciting! Can't wait! thanks for the update :)

Emily: 10/02/2012 12:56 CDT

Argh, I do that all the time! I call my kids by each other's names too though, so at least I'm consistent!

fthurber: 10/03/2012 08:49 CDT

I showed Curiosity's view as of sol 54 to my 15 year old son and showed him the two sea lions. He also noticed a stegosaurus skeleton on its side to the right and closer in plus various alligator scutes... ;) The most geologically rich area that a rover/lander has ever seen on Mars.

bware: 10/04/2012 02:58 CDT

Regarding the 1st image: Looking from the right side at about the 2 o'clock position, following the 'flow path' to about the 25% point to me it looks like and entry point into another water body. At that point there is pulling that body into the 'flow path' towards the right. Looking at the below and upper portion at the 25% point from the 2 o'clock position it appears (need a stereo view to be sure) to have a erosion elevation difference of maybe about 2 inches (5cm) in a circular path. This circular path cuts across the 'flow path' at the 25% point from 2 o'clock. Agree or not?

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