Of course, one of the amazing things about this image is that it IS pretty much something we can see every day, thanks to NASA’s roving robot on Mars!
This is a mosaic of seven raw images acquired by Curiosity’s Mastcam on May 11, 2015 – aka mission Sol 981. The view is looking east toward Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons) which rises 18,000 feet (5,480m) from the floor of Gale Crater. The valley in the foreground, as well as the rock outcrops around it, have attracted mission scientists because it seems to have been carved out from the surrounding area and then filled in with sediment and sand.
“It’s exciting to see this on Mars for the first time,”said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada at JPL. “Features like this on Earth capture evidence of change. What in the environment changed to go from depositing one kind of sediment, to eroding it away in a valley, to then depositing a different kind of sediment? It’s a fascinating puzzle that Mars has left for us.”
The view above uses colors as detected by the rover’s Mastcam. For an idea of what the same scene would look like under Earthlike lighting, see below:
Curiosity is now heading toward its next science objective, an area called Logan Pass just off to the right in the image above.