The travels of Curiosity at the base of Mount Sharp continue. In the past week, since my last update on June 16th, the rover has moved west past the entrance to Gediz Vallis to now sit at the base of Raphael Navarro Mountain, as shown by the panorama above. To get a sense of how far the rover has traveled in the past week, compare this panorama with the one posted then. It is also clear now that they are slowly returning to their planned route, and will not push up into Gediz Vallis as I speculated in that post.
I have annotated the interactive map that the Curiosity team provides. The yellow lines indicate the area covered by the panorama above. The dotted red line marks their planned route up Mt. Sharp. The white line the route they have taken, through June 21st. The white dot almost due south of their present position and inside Gediz Vallis is a suspected recurring slope lineae, a streak that darkens seasonally that might be caused by the seepage of underground brine.
The rover is presently higher on Mount Sharp than any time previously, with that record being broken with almost every day’s travel. Over the next few months they will circle around Navarro Mountain to head uphill on its western side, making a side trip back to check out Gediz Vallis Ridge before driving into Gediz Vallis.
As I have mentioned previously, these are the first Martian mountains seen from eye level. More such breath-taking views await us as Curiosity dives upward into Mount Sharp.
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