NASA has released the latest images from Mars sent by the Curiosity Rover. The new photographs were captured during the lander's exploration of the Gale Crater.
According to the space agency, Curiosity recorded the black-and-white photos using its Navigational Cameras (NavCams), which are designed to take a wide-angle view of the Martian terrain.
These engineering cameras, however, are not capable of shooting images in color as the spacecraft's 34 millimeter and 100 millimeter Mast Cameras can.
Mar's Gale Crater
The new images show a barren and dried out environment at the Gale Crater, dotted with layers of desiccated clay that may have set around four billion years ago.
Scientists believe that during this time, Mars was significantly wetter and warmer and it still had a denser atmosphere compared to its present-day state.
Curiosity is making its way toward a deposit of basalt dunes, which NASA researchers hope would be able to reveal more information about the history of volcanic activity on the Red Planet.
The dust particles found in the dune appear to be volcanic in origin and not native to the Martian crater. It is likely that these particles were blown in by a force that is yet to be identified.
NASA is looking to find out more about the Martian environment through the ongoing Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission and build up on data uncovered by the Spirit Rover that successfully explored the Gusev Crater between 2004 and 2011.
Mouse on Mars
Aside from the NavCam photographs beamed to Earth by the Curiosity Rover, another Mars-related news making waves on social media is about the presence of a supposed "mouse" on the Red Planet's surface.
In a video posted on the YouTube channel ArtAlienTV, amateur astronomer Joe White said that he was able to spot a mouse on one of the images of the Gale Crater.
While NASA has yet to confirm White's claim, the alien hunter argued that the creature he saw on the NASA photograph closely resembles a mouse that could even be three feet in length.
"A possible very large mouse or other rodent on Mars in Gale Crater sitting on a ridge plain as day," White said.
The alien hunter, however, went on to say that what he saw could likely be an optical illusion but it did seem to have a nose, big ears and eyes.