NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is seen at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called 'Buckskin' on lower Mount Sharp in this low-angle self-portrait taken August 5, 2015 and released August 19, 2015. The selfie combines several component images taken by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 1,065th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars, according to a NASA news release. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Handout THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - TM3EB8J17BD01
The dark, smooth-surfaced object at the center of this Oct. 30, 2016, image from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover was examined with laser pulses and confirmed to be an iron-nickel meteorite.
The grid of shiny points visible on the object resulted from that laser zapping by Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument.
The meteorite is about the size of a golf ball. It is informally named "Egg Rock," for a site in Maine. Locations around Bar Harbor, Maine, are the naming theme for an area on Mars' Mount Sharp that Curiosity reached in October.
Iron-nickel meteorites are a common class of space rocks found on Earth, and previous examples have been found on Mars, but Egg Rock is the first on Mars to be examined with a laser-firing spectrometer.
The scene is presented with a color adjustment that approximates white balancing, to resemble how the rocks and sand would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth. Figure 1 includes a scale bar of 5 centimeters (about 2 inches). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
A NASA handout photo shows the three left wheels of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combined in two images that were taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on September 9, 2012. In the distance is the lower slope of Mount Sharp. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - TM3E89A0WFB01
This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at "Namib Dune," where the rover's activities included scuffing into the dune with a wheel and scooping samples of sand for laboratory analysis.
The scene combines 57 images taken on Jan. 19, 2016, during the 1,228th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars. The camera used for this is the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at the end of the rover's robotic arm. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
This look back at a dune that NASA's Curiosity Mars rover drove across was taken by the rover's Mast Camera (Mastcam) during the 538th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Feb. 9, 2014). The rover had driven over the dune three days earlier. For scale, the distance between the parallel wheel tracks is about 9 feet (2.7 meters). The dune is about 3 feet (1 meter) tall in the middle of its span across an opening called "Dingo Gap." This view is looking eastward. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover drilled this hole to collect sample material from a rock target called "Buckskin" on July 30, 2015, during the 1060th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. The diameter is slightly smaller than a U.S. dime.
Curiosity landed on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, Universal Time (evening of Aug. 5, PDT).
The rover took this image with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera, which is mounted on the same robotic arm as the sample-collecting drill. Rock powder from the collected sample was subsequently delivered to a laboratory inside the rover for analysis. The rover's drill did not experience any sign during this sample collection of an intermittent short-circuiting issue that was detected earlier in 2015.
The Buckskin target is in an area near "Marias Pass" on lower Mount Sharp where Curiosity had detected unusually high levels of silica and hydrogen. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
This composite image looking toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp was taken on September 9, 2015, by NASA's Curiosity rover. In the foreground -- about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover -- is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide. Just beyond is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond that are a multitude of rounded buttes, all high in sulfate minerals. The changing mineralogy in these layers of Mount Sharp suggests a changing environment in early Mars, though all involve exposure to water billions of years ago. The Curiosity team hopes to be able to explore these diverse areas in the months and years ahead. Further back in the image are striking, light-toned cliffs in rock that may have formed in drier times and now is heavily eroded by winds.
The colors are adjusted so that rocks look approximately as they would if they were on Earth, to help geologists interpret the rocks. This "white balancing" to adjust for the lighting on Mars overly compensates for the absence of blue on Mars, making the sky appear light blue and sometimes giving dark, black rocks a blue cast. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
This view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows a hillside outcrop with layered rocks within the "Murray Buttes" region on lower Mount Sharp.
The buttes and mesas rising above the surface in this area are eroded remnants of ancient sandstone that originated when winds deposited sand after lower Mount Sharp had formed. Curiosity closely examined that layer -- called the "Stimson formation" -- during the first half of 2016, while crossing a feature called "Naukluft Plateau" between two exposures of the Murray formation. The layering within the sandstone is called "cross-bedding" and indicates that the sandstone was deposited by wind as migrating sand dunes.
The image was taken on Sept. 8, 2016, during the 1454th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 1276 (2016-03-09 05:54:15 UTC). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)