The meandering route is engineers' attempt to navigate a safe path around sharp rocks and dangerous dunes (see page 20) to the base of Aeolis
Mons, which begins around Murray Buttes.
Just as the Grand Canyon in Arizona exposes ancient strata at the base of its walls and younger ones higher up, it's thought that the lowest layers within Aeolis Mons were laid down about 3.8 billion years ago, when geologists suspect that the Red Planet's climate was warm enough to permit liquid water to flow abundantly across the surface.
The craft's initial panoramas showed Aeolis Mons looming nearby and a foreground landscape that bristled with geologic promise.
terminator: Aeolis (sw), Aeria, Alba, Amazonis-Memnonia, Arcadia (sw), Candor-Ophir, Cebrenia, Chryse-Xanthe, Eden, Elysium (especially Elysium Mons), Hellas (vw), Isidis Regio Libya, Neith Regio, Nix Olympica (weakening in late April), Tempe (sw), Tharsis Montes, Tharsis and Zephyria (sw).
Mare Acidalium, Aeolis, Aethiopis, Candor-Ophir, Cebrenia, Chryse-Xanthe, Deucalionis Regio, Edom, Isidis Regio-Libya, Neith Regio, Nix Olympica (e.g., Cave, May 29), Tempe and Tharsis.
The layered mound, also called Aeolis
Mons, in the center of Gale Crater rises more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the crater floor location of Curiosity.
The rover's ultimate goal is a pile of layered sedimentary rock that forms a 5.5-kilometer-high mountain in the crater's center, formally named Aeolis
MSL successfully carried out a more accurate landing than previous spacecraft to Mars, aiming for a small target landing ellipse of only 7 by 20 km (4.3 by 12 mi), in the Aeolis
Palus region of Gale Crater.
Over the course of 208 Sols (Martian days), the rover has traveled nearly 500 meters (almost a third of a mile) across the pebbly terrain of Gale Crater toward its ultimate goal: Aeolis
Mons, the crater's 18,000-foot-high central peak.
As Curiosity continue its cutting-edge laboratory work on the surface of Mars, inside Gale Crater on a plain called Aeolis
Palus, mission scientists are itching to announce a "historic" find, Discovery News reported.
Recent raw photographs beamed back from Aeolis
Palus, the plain at the base of Gale Crater that leads to the 3-mile (5-kilometer) high mountain Aeolis
Mons (unofficially called Mt.