Curiosity has been hard at work in recent months as it explores the Gale Crater. The rover has climbed on an eroded pediment, which is known as the Central Butte.
At this point, the rover studies the worn layers of rock, which surround the base of Mount Sharp, which offers an impressive vista as it rises from the center of the crater. Besides data related to the rock which is present in the area the rover also sent fascinating images of the Martian horizon, which is visible in the background.
The images were recorded with the help of the Right Navigation Camera B, which is mounted on the rover and serves as a valuable instrument. They were recorded on November 1 or Sol 2573.
Within the images, it is easy to spot how the butte tends to slope towards the mountain while the rim of the Gale crater is visible in the distance. The crater was created by a giant meteorite that struck the planet billions of years ago, leaving a great mark.
The sheer sterility of the Martian landscape is desolating, enhancing the loneliness of the rover, which remains the only operating rover on the Red Planet. Opportunity vanished a year ago during a planetary-scale dust storm, which forced the rover to enter hibernation. Since the rover relied on solar energy to work (Curiosity has a built-in nuclear power source) it is theorized that the reserves of energy were consumed, and it remained without any power before the storm ended.
There is no time to contemplate a lonesome existence as the Central Butte offers some interesting geological traits. Layers of sedimentary rock could offer valuable information about the presence of water on the planet in the past, and Curiosity will attempt to learn more about them in the following days.
When sufficient data are collected, the rover will move on the other side of the butte.