Curiosity Rover Reaches Mars’s Sand Dunes — Photos

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The active sand dunes of Mars were reached by NASA’s Curiosity rover last month, and Friday NASA released some of Curiosity’s latest photography.

The Bagnold Dunes are as high as two stories, and compose the bottom portion of a layered mountain Curiosity is trekking up this month.

Some of Curiosity’s latest photos show the bot’s view looking up the dune hill. Others show the texture of the sand its treaded wheels are covering.

NASA states that the individual dunes of the Bagnold band — which is located along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp inside Gale Glacier — move up to 3 feet (1 meter) per year, based on observations from orbit.

Curiosity’s current mission task is to scale Sharp and examine the higher layers. It has already explored outcrops between its landing site and the mountain since landing in August 2012.

By James Haleavy

Photos: NASA