Monday, August 6, 2012

Mars: Analyzing Layers of History - 2

Curiosity landed in the oval as planned.
I watched the entire landing sequence of Curiosity, ending with a clean, soft landing in Gale crater on Mars.

The craft functioned flawlessly during EDL, fulfilling our hopes expressed in the first post of this series.

Now the surface work begins within the landing area shown as the oval shape on the map to the left, but just exactly where the craft is may not be determined for a day or so, but we do know that the first photos show a flat surface with some gravel, a view of one wheel, a look at the craft's shadow, and the ridge of Gale Crater off in the distance.

Soon though, full color hi-res photos will be sent after the craft is checked out carefully, step by step, and the mast, etc. are properly deployed.

The library of a billion years or so of Martian history has been deposited nearby in stratified layers going up a mound that is about three miles high.

The bottom, oldest layers of the mound have clay deposits, indicating water-deposited fine material, then older silica type material is in layers above that, then more and more layers of various sorts extend on up the hill like pages in an ancient history book.

We stand a good chance to find out about the catastrophes that scarred and shaped the surface of Mars, and perhaps even more data to support or not support the EPH (see Exploded Planet Hypothesis, Weekend Rebel Science Excursion).

The next post in this series is here, the previous post is here.

MRO photo: Curiosity parachute deployed
Gale Crater: location of landing site

HazCam: Looking forward toward Mt. Sharp

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