Mars Curiosity Rover, powered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), had sent a postcard of Mount Sharp, showcasing the stunning mountainous landscape of the red planet.

The compound image, which was pointing to the high parts of the mountain, was captured on Sept. 9, 2015. The foreground, situated some two miles from the rover, is a stretch of ridge filled with an iron oxide called hematite.

A wavy plain rich in clay minerals was also observed, as well as numerous sulfate-containing rounded buttles beyond that. The transition in the mineralogy of Mount Sharp's layers may predict the modifying environment in the planet's early life. Nonetheless, all changes were said to entail water exposure billions of years ago. The team behind the Curiosity rover aims to explore the said dynamic sections in the coming months or years.

The postcard image also featured a distinct, light-toned cliffs in rock in the background. The cliffs were said to have been formed when environmental situations were drier and now is significantly disintegrated by winds.

To help geological specialists analyze the rocks, the experts adjusted its colors according to what it would look like if they were situated on Earth. The white balancing technique used to adjust the lightning on Mars highly indemnifies the lack of the color blue in Mars. With this, the sky on the planet looks light blue and the black rocks also appear to have a shade of blue.

"The only thing more stunning than these images is the thought that Curiosity will be driving through those lower hills one day," said Ashwin Vasavada, a scientists from the Curiosity project. "We couldn't help but send a postcard back to all those following her journey."

The onboard laboratories in the rover namely the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy X-Ray diffractometer (CheMin), which study the components of Martian rocks, will also be embarking on a new mission. Dubbed as the "Big Sky," a drilling project of the Curiosity rover bore its eighth hole on Mars on Tuesday, Sept. 29. The said hole, which measures about 2.6 inches in depth, is the fifth fissure created by the rover since it arrived on Mount Sharp in 2014.

Vasavada said that their team has discovered the ordinary sandstone they were searching for through the Big Sky. He added that it is also close to the sandstone that appears as if it has been modified by fluids such as groundwater and other dissolved agents. The team is looking forward to drilling that rock in the future, compare findings and comprehend the alterations that have transpired.

Curiosity rover landed inside the Gale Crater in Mars on Aug. 2012. Finding out if microbial life is possible in Mars is the main mission of the rover. Mount Sharp is said to be the ultimate destination of Curiosity, with experts hoping that it would climb up the lower reaches of the mountain to investigate the rocks for indicators of Mars' alteration from a warm and wet to a cold and dry planet that it is at present.


ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.