This computer-generated image depicts part of Mars at the boundary between darkness and daylight, with an area including Gale Crater, beginning to catch morning light.
Northward is to the left. Gale is the crater with a mound inside it near the centre of the image. Nasa selected Gale Crater as the landing site for Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory. The mission’s rover will be placed on the ground in a northern portion of Gale crater in August 2012.
Gale Crater is 154 km in diameter and holds a layered mountain rising about 5 km above the crater floor. The intended landing site is at 4,5 degrees south latitude, 137,4 degrees east longitude.
This view was created using three-dimensional information from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, which flew on Nasa’s Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. The vertical dimension is not exaggerated. Colour information is based on general Mars colour characteristics.
Image credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech