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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Dune Buggy

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, December 12, 2015/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, environment, adventure

The mobile scientific laboratory Curiosity is taking on the task of being something of a Martian "dune buggy". The scientific robot continues its trek up the Mount Sharp at the center of Gale Crater but has stopped to explore a sand dune field on the mountain's slopes.

According to JPL, the dune images have been color corrected to approximate how the sand would appear in daytime lighting conditions on Earth. The Martian dune fields are active, migrating up to about one yard per year. Curiosity will use its wheels, as well as its laboratory gear, to investigate the sand in the active dunes as well as scooping up particles for on-board analysis.

                               Dune Fields on Mount Sharp, Mars  (credit: Curiosity rover, JPL)

Curiosity probably won't be doing any fancy turns in sand that might trap the "buggy" on its important mission to explore Mars.


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