NASA's Mars Rover, Curiosity, has encountered and examined previously-unchartered territory.
For the first time ever, the Curiosity rover has studied the ripple surface of a Martian sand dune. The probe was over a section of Mars' "Bagnold Dunes," whose field sits along the northwest flank of Mount Sharp. The amazing pictures were snapped on November 27.
NASA says the scene was splashed with color adjustment to approximate white balancing to resemble how the sand dunes would look under daytime conditions on Earth.
NASA says the San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems built and operate the Mastcam aboard the Curiosity. Meanwhile, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, of the California Institute of Technology, created the Curiosity rover and manages NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
One scintillating image shows a zoomed-in view of an undisturbed field of Martian sand. The image is so pristine that its one could make out the rough grains of the sand just upon a mere glance.
Another shot clearly shows the Curiosity's tire tread marks in the sand with the ripples proving that the sand on Mars is loose. Yet another image reinforces that notion, as it actually shows a crack in the sand with loose grains flaking off.
NASA describes it as a: "disturbance by the wheel exposed interior material of the sand body, including finer sand grains than on the undisturbed surface. Sunlight is coming from the left."
Perhaps the most beautiful and even telling picture of them all, though, is this long shot, showing rows and rows of distinctively-shaped sand dunes.