front hazcam

View down ‘hidden valley’ ramp at 'Bonanza King’ on Mars

The pale rocks in the foreground of this fisheye image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover include the “Bonanza King” target under consideration to become the fourth rock drilled by the Mars Science Laboratory mission.  No previous mission has collected sample material from the interior of rocks on Mars. Curiosity delivers the drilled rock powder into analytical laboratory instruments inside the rover.

Curiosity’s front Hazard Avoidance Camera (Hazcam), which has a very wide-angle lens, recorded this view on Aug. 14, 2014, during the 719th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars.  The view faces southward, looking down a ramp at the northeastern end of sandy-floored “Hidden Valley.” Wheel tracks show where Curiosity drove into the valley, and back out again, earlier in August 2014.  The largest of the individual flat rocks in the foreground are a few inches (several centimeters) across.  For scale, the rover’s left front wheel, visible at left, is 20 inches (0.5 meter) in diameter.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech