Door-Shaped Fracture Spotted by Curiosity at ‘East Cliffs’
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, to capture this mound of rock nicknamed “East Cliffs” on May 7, 2022, the 3,466th sol, or Martian day, of the mission. The mound, on Mount Sharp, has a number of naturally occurring open fractures – including one roughly 12 inches (30 centimeters) tall and 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide, similar in size to a dog door. These kinds of open fractures are common in bedrock, both on Earth and on Mars.
The main panorama included here was stitched together using 113 images from Mastcam’s left lens. The image is processed to approximate the color and brightness of the scene as it would look to the human eye under normal daytime conditions on Earth.
Figure B is the same scene as Figure A, the main panorama, but captured using 114 images from the right lens and showing the top of the mound more thoroughly. The “door” has been circled in this image.
Figure C is the same right-lens view panorama as Figure B, but as a 3D anaglyph viewable with red-blue glasses.
Figure D is zoomed in on the “dog door”-shaped open fracture, as a 3D anaglyph.
Figure E is the same 3D anaglyph as Figure D, but with annotations indicating the approximate width, height, and depth of the open fracture.
NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover is a car-sized robotic rover that was launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, and successfully landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. The rover was designed to explore the Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission.
Curiosity’s primary mission was to study the Martian environment to determine whether the area selected for the mission, the Gale Crater, ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. The rover carries a variety of scientific instruments designed for geology, atmosphere, environmental studies, and radiation measurement.
Curiosity was built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the mission on behalf of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego built and operates Mastcam.