• Turns out Mars has its very own 'Grand Canyon' (NASA)Source: NASA
Photographs from NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover reveal a Grand Canyon-like structure so similar to ours on Earth.
By
Shami Sivasubramanian

13 Sep 2016 - 1:30 PM  UPDATED 13 Sep 2016 - 1:32 PM

NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover has recently captured five stunning photographs from its travels, and people are comparing the snaps to landforms back here on Earth.

"Curiosity's science team has been just thrilled to go on this road trip through a bit of the American desert Southwest on Mars," says Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

People on social media seem to agree with the "American desert" comparison, with many comparing the Martian landscape to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Curiosity has been “exploring the ‘Murray Buttes’ region of lower Mount Sharp” for just over a month now. Its latest drilling campaign commenced last Friday on September 9, the day after the Rover’s latest photos were taken.

Understanding Martian buttes (a hill with vertical sides and a flat top) and mesas (a large, wide tableland) can help piece together the geological history of the planet, particularly what caused the planet’s previously habitable conditions to disappear.  

"Studying these buttes up close has given us a better understanding of ancient sand dunes that formed and were buried, chemically changed by groundwater, exhumed and eroded to form the landscape that we see today," says Vasavada.

Following this drilling, Curiosity will continue its further up Mount Sharp, journeying southward of the planet.

Read these too
NASA has created a free and terribly addictive Mars Rover game
Will you break the rover or drive it successfully? Spoiler: you will break it.
SpaceX says it will fly to Mars in 2018 – what are its chances?
Industry experts are remarkably optimistic about Elon Musk's company's chances of landing a craft on Mars in the next few years.
Here's a four-step plan for making Mars inhabitable for humans
It's a pretty thorough plan - in just four easy steps, we could have a whole another planet to reside on.
Science from your sofa – how you can map Mars, clouds and cats
You don't need a lab coat or a degree to become a citizen scientist, helping advance humanity's knowledge about the world.