Mars panorama from Curiosity shows petrified sand dunes

Mars Panorama from Curiosity Shows Petrified Sand Dunes
Large-scale crossbedding in the sandstone of this ridge on a lower slope of Mars' Mount Sharp is typical of windblown sand dunes that have petrified. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Some of the dark sandstone in an area being explored by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows texture and inclined bedding structures characteristic of deposits that formed as sand dunes, then were cemented into rock.

A panorama from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) that includes a ridge made of this is online.

This sandstone outcrop—part of a geological layer that Curiosity's science team calls the Stimson unit—has a structure called crossbedding on a large scale that the team has interpreted as deposits of sand dunes formed by wind. Similar-looking petrified are common in the U.S. Southwest. Geometry and orientation of the crossbedding give information about the directions of the winds that produced the dunes.

The Stimson unit overlies a layer of mudstone that was deposited in a lake environment. Curiosity has been examining successively higher and younger layers of Mount Sharp, starting with the mudstone at the mountain's base, for evidence about changes in the area's ancient environment.

The dozens of individual Mastcam images combined into this panorama were taken on Aug. 27, 2015. Curiosity has driven about 103 yards (94 meters) in the subsequent two weeks, generally southward. Outcrops of the Stimson unit sandstone are still accessible to the rover, and researchers plan to use the rover to collect and analyze a drilled sample of Stimson unit sandstone this month.

Mars Panorama from Curiosity Shows Petrified Sand Dunes
Credit: NASA

Curiosity has been working on Mars since early August 2012. It reached the base of Mount Sharp last year after fruitfully investigating outcrops closer to its landing site and then trekking to the mountain.


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Citation: Mars panorama from Curiosity shows petrified sand dunes (2015, September 12) retrieved 26 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-mars-panorama-curiosity-petrified-sand.html
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Sep 12, 2015
I still can't believe I'm looking on a HD picture of ANOTHER PLANET! We're living in the future.

Sep 12, 2015
INB4 Aliens spotted.

Sep 12, 2015
Serious question: what's with the duplicated rocks? I realize this is a compilation, so I assume part of the photos get placed in more than one spot on accident?

Sep 12, 2015
Serious question: what's with the duplicated rocks? I realize this is a compilation, so I assume part of the photos get placed in more than one spot on accident?


????

Sep 13, 2015
Serious question: what's with the duplicated rocks? I realize this is a compilation, so I assume part of the photos get placed in more than one spot on accident?


????

Blow the picture up to full size, then scroll up to the top left. a little ways in you'll see two "nose-shaped" rocks on the top of the hill that are clearly identical. I Googled it and apparently this pic is taken by two different cameras on the rover, each positioned at different heights.
I assume that could account for the seemingly duplicated rocks (there are others in the photo that are clearly the exact same rock only "spread out" slightly from each other).

Sep 13, 2015
That ain't no kind of place to raise your kids.

Sep 13, 2015
Serious question: what's with the duplicated rocks? I realize this is a compilation, so I assume part of the photos get placed in more than one spot on accident?


????

Blow the picture up to full size, then scroll up to the top left. a little ways in you'll see two "nose-shaped" rocks on the top of the hill that are clearly identical. I Googled it and apparently this pic is taken by two different cameras on the rover, each positioned at different heights.
I assume that could account for the seemingly duplicated rocks (there are others in the photo that are clearly the exact same rock only "spread out" slightly from each other).


I was skeptical, but you're right.

It's caused by parallax--the apparent motion of objects caused by different perspectives. I used to do panoramic photography, and this could be a problem if the camera head wasn't calibrated right.

Sep 13, 2015
I Googled it and apparently this pic is taken by two different cameras on the rover, each positioned at different heights.
@Moltvic
would you mind putting those links here?
IMHO - to me, it looks like this could also have been cropped from the original picture and the res dropped.

opened both side by side, & the lower pic ( http://cdn.phys.o...rama.jpg ) seems to be the same (the origin of the upper) as the upper, with more data/res... bigger. clearer.

if you concentrate in the hill and the two dark spots (rocks and shadow just below the shallow saddle on top) a sideways thumbspace down from the top, it seems (IMHO) to be that the top pic is a slightly lower resolution cropped photo of the bottom pic

but that is just what it looks like to me...

Sep 13, 2015
I down loaded the photo and slowly zoomed in to the point it was too noisy to be of any use. I can't find any identical rocks, similar but not identical. Maybe it's time for my cataract surgery.

Sep 13, 2015
I down loaded the photo
@Vietvet
just use the actual size of the photo
try this: open the top pic... let it zoom to actual size (no pixelation )... put the low, shallow saddle at the top center of the page if you can... about an inch down, you will see two darker spots which are rocks with shadow

open the bottom pic and let it zoom to actual size, center it the same place and look at the same points... the rocks are far more clear and precise in the bottom pic and appear exactly the same as the top, but more precise (IMHO)

it looks to me like the top pic is simply cropped from the bottom pic, then resized to make it smaller which affected the precision and pixelation... i say it IMHO because it resembles pics i've taken and done the same with... when i resize after cropping like that, it loses some in translation.

thats why i asked for the links (any from NASA stating they're separate camera pics?)


Sep 13, 2015
then scroll up to the top left. a little ways in you'll see two "nose-shaped" rocks on the top of the hill that are clearly identical
@moltvic
I see where you are talking about now...
but that is in the bottom pic ONLY

the bottom pic is also a panorama pic and more than just one single picture...

i think TheWalrus is correct.... interesting spot there Moltvic

it was confusing at first because i didn't see the "nose rocks" in both pics (and the first pic is simply cropped from the bottom pic)


Sep 13, 2015
@Captain Stumpy
"it was confusing at first because i didn't see the "nose rocks" in both pics (and the first pic is simply cropped from the bottom pic)"

Same here and agree the the top pic is a crop of the bottom pic.

When I downloaded the high res pic and zoomed in I found more "identical rocks". Below the "nose rocks" are two identical cylindrical shaped rocks appearing standing on end with identical "chicken bone" rocks laying beside them. I'm trying to wrap my head around why the "doubling" is confined to such a few small areas. I know the bottom photo is a mosaic of many photos and maybe that's the problem.

It would be great to get an explanation from the imaging team, not that I'm doubting The Walrus.

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