On the dusty plains of Mars, from her position in Gale Crater, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has snapped a picture of Mount Sharp. This mountain, which, according to a NASA news release, is taller than any within the contiguous United States, juts up from the center of the crater. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released the two mosaic images below.
These mosaics are like jigsaw puzzles, and are assembled from a number of telephoto images taken with Curiosity’s 100-millimeter-focal-length telephoto lens camera. The lens is situated to the right of the rover’s sensing mast. Curiosity took this image on her 45th day on the Red Planet (Sept. 20, 2012).
Mount Sharp, also known as Aeolis Mons, rises some three miles (five kilometers) into the Martian sky from the crater’s surface. The lower slopes of Mount Sharp is one of the destinations planned for the rover during its planned two-year mission. For now the rover will spend a bit more time at “Yellowknife Bay.”
Two versions of the image were produced. One is white-balanced to make the terrain look like it would if it were under “Earth-like” lighting conditions (below).
The image below is what this vista looks like under natural Martian conditions. Note that the sky is not the blue that we are accustomed to here on Earth, but rather a butterscotch color.