I had a number of topics to write about, all varied and cool and probably would be well received but a) I want to research the topics more and b) I find this very interesting and can’t wait until Curiosity is able to report back on these rocks.
Your thinking to yourself why am I looking at a desertscape? Well actually what you are looking at is sandstone layers as seen from NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars recorded from the view through the mast camera and near a waypoint called “the Kimberley”, named for a northwestern Australian region.
What’s so different about these rocks? Visually, not much is different, but their textures and strength hint at a lot. Most stones that Curiosity has studied to date, especially in the ancient lake-bed when at “Yellowknife Bay”, are a finer grain mudstone. These rocks will help to answer a number of questions. From the why some stones are more erosion-resistant than others to how did Mars environmental conditions evolve seemingly so drastically.
It is very likely that Curiosity will get to use all its various tools from the drill to the laboratory instruments kept safe inside the vehicle.
So where did NASA get the idea for this trek? Orbital images peaked researchers interest in the patches of ground all of which have striations in the same directions. These striations might be yet further evidence that Mars had water flowing on its surface.
(Speaking of Mars & Water and Orbital images – Do you recall the spectrographic evidence or suspected evidence of actual flowing water on Mars disseminated by NASA in 2011. The problem in proving it was the iron ore interference with readings. Although the spectrograms had been repeated and both provided an actual pattern that had changed and movement of sediment pointing to liquid and the readings seemed to indicate water, the mechanism that is behind its sudden appearance is not known; albeit it was during Mar’s warm season. )
After this stop Curiosity will continue on to the base of Mount Sharp. Rising 5.5 kilometers above the northern crater floor of Gale Crater, is believed to provide a plethora of data. Did winds deposit sediments here or was it Aeolian processes or neither. AND where did the original layers originate from.
Mountains on Earth or anywhere are fountains of information and usually provide lots of history.