In the coming days, five months after landing on the red planet, NASA's Curiosity rover will maneuver carefully into position as it approaches the "John Klein" site inside the Gale Crater, the place at which Curiosity will drill into the Martian surface for the first time.
NASA says the selected target location offers a bounty of diverse and unexpected features for exploring the mineral and chemical composition of the surface of Mars, including mineral veins, nodules, cross-bedded layering, a lustrous pebble embedded in sandstone, and possibly some holes in the ground.
"These veins are likely composed of hydrated calcium sulfate, such as bassinite or gypsum," said ChemCam team member Nicolas Mangold of the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique de Nantes in France. "On Earth, forming veins like these requires water circulating in fractures."
This image was taken by Curiosity's Navcam on Sol 159 of the journey, January 16, 2013.