Curiosity's Views of Gale Crater
In its first months on the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory has been using its 17 cameras to record amazing scenery and its early operations.
Now that it's safely on the Red Planet's surface, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory — a.k.a. Curiosity — will spend at least a full Martian year (98 weeks) studying the windblown deposits on the floor of Gale crater and the 3-mile-high stack of layered sediment not far away that could hold important clues to the planet's early history.
By the end of 2012, five months into its mission, Curiosity had traveled nearly a half mile (several hundred meters), moving toward an intriguing exposure of bedrock called "Glenelg." These early sorties provided the mission's scientists and engineers with a variety of surface materials to fully check out the craft's robotic arm, drill, and instruments.
As the views below show, the terrain inside Gale crater is a fascinating mix of the alien and the familiar.