Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology JPL HOME EARTH SOLAR SYSTEM STARS & GALAXIES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY BRING THE UNIVERSE TO YOU JPL Email News RSS Mobile Video
JPL Banner
Mars Science Laboratory
Home
PRESS RELEASE
12.11.2015

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Reaches Sand Dunes

'High Dune' is First Martian Dune Studied up Close
'High Dune' is First Martian Dune Studied up Close
The rippled surface of the first Martian sand dune ever studied up close fills this Nov. 27, 2015, view of "High Dune" from the Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity rover. This site is part of the "Bagnold Dunes" field of active dark dunes along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Fast Facts: -- Curiosity is using its wheels, as well as its science payload, to investigate sand that forms active dunes on Mars.
-- Plans call for the rover to scoop up and sieve sand for onboard laboratory analysis.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has begun an up-close investigation of dark sand dunes up to two stories tall. The dunes are on the rover's trek up the lower portion of a layered Martian mountain.

A view of the rippled surface of what's been informally named "High Dune" is online at:
http://mars.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7581

A wheel track exposing material beneath the surface of a sand sheet nearby is at:
http://mars.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7582

The dunes close to Curiosity's current location are part of "Bagnold Dunes," a band along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater. Observations of this dune field from orbit show that edges of individual dunes move as much as 3 feet (1 meter) per Earth year.

The rover's planned investigations include scooping a sample of the dune material for analysis with laboratory instruments inside Curiosity.

Curiosity has been working on Mars since early August 2012. It reached the base of Mount Sharp in 2014 after fruitfully investigating outcrops closer to its landing site and then trekking to the mountain. The main mission objective now is to examine successively higher layers of Mount Sharp.

For more information about Curiosity, visit:
http://mars.nasa.gov/msl


All Related Images
  • The rippled surface of the first Martian sand dune ever studied up close fills this Nov. 27, 2015, view of "High Dune" from the Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity rover. This site is part of the "Bagnold Dunes" field of active dark dunes along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp.
    First Martian Sand Dune Studied by Curiosity
  • Ripples on Martian sand dunes show signs that wind moves them today, in NASA's first ever close-up view of active sand dunes, seen by Mars rover Curiosity.
    'High Dune' is First Martian Dune Studied up Close (Full Unannotated)
  • NASA's Mars Curiosity rover looks down on its wheel track, revealing sand grains beneath the surface of a shallow, rippled sand dune.
    Rover Track in Sand Sheet Near Martian Sand Dune
  • In an up-close 1-inch-wide view, grains of sand near a Martian sand dune are imaged by the arm camera on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity Mars rover.
    Martian Sand Disturbed by Rover Wheel
  • This Dec. 5, 2015, view of the undisturbed surface of a Martian sand dune called "High Dune" shows coarse grains remaining on the surface after wind removal of smaller particles. The image covers an area 1.4 inches across. It was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).
    Surface Close-up of a Martian Sand Dune

2015-367

Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-6278
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov / laura.l.cantillo@nasa.gov

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Return to News Archive

USA.gov
PRIVACY     FAQ     SITEMAP     FEEDBACK     IMAGE POLICY