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Drilling Candidate Site ‘Bonanza King’ on Mars

Image from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover
This Aug. 14, 2012, image from the Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows an outcrop that includes the "Bonanza King" rock under consideration as a drilling target. Raised ridges on the flat rocks are visible at right. Tread marks from a rover wheel are in the lower half.

This image from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows a portion of the pale rock outcrop that includes the “Bonanza King” target chosen for evaluation as the mission’s fourth rock-drilling site. Raised ridges on the flat rocks — possible mineral veins — are visible at upper and middle right. Tread marks from one of Curiosity’s wheels are visible in the lower half of the image.

The left camera of the Mastcam pair acquired this image on Aug. 12, 2014, during the 717th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars. The width of the ground covered in the foreground is about 2.5 feet (about 75 centimeters). The image is in the Mastcam’s raw color, as recorded by the camera under Martian lighting conditions.

The location is on a ramp rising from the northeastern end of “Hidden Valley,” between Curiosity’s August 2012 landing site in Gale Crater and destinations on Mount Sharp within the crater.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project’s Curiosity rover. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover’s Mastcam.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS