Astronomy Picture of the Day

A Crumbling Layered Butte on Mars
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS; Compilation & Processing : Kenneth Kremer, Marco Di Lorenzo Explanation: What is this unusual mound on Mars? NASA’s Curiosity rover rolling across Mars has come across a group of these mounds that NASA has labelled Murray Buttes. Pictured is a recently assembled mosaic image of one of the last of the buttes passed by Curiosity on its way up Mt. Sharp — but also one of the most visually spectacular. Ancient water-deposited layers in relatively dense — but now dried-out and crumbling — windblown sandstone tops the 15-meter tall structure. The rim of Gale crater is visible in the distance. Curiosity continues to accumulate clues about how Mars changed from a planet with areas wet and hospitable to microbial life to the dry, barren, rusted landscape seen today.

Tomorrow’s picture: M & M & M

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