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NASA’s Curiosity Rover sends back eerie images of Central Butte on Mars

A view towards Central Butte that emphasizes the many layers ahead of us. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA's Curiosity Rover is currently exploring the Central Butte on the Martian surface, which is an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top. The rover shared black and white images of the rock formations of the region as it continues its investigation of the soil.

One of the images shows what looks like fog or a thick cloud blanket over the distant rim of the Gale Crater whereas other pictures show the close up of the rock structure of Central Butte. "The rover is a little further up the side of the butte, and the goal is to characterize the different units that we can observe," NASA wrote on its website.

The Central Butte is also a part of the Gale Crater, which is a dried-up lake with a mountain in its centre. As per an earlier study, the crater was formed about 3.6 billion years ago on Mars when a meteor hit the planet. Scientists believe that the geological terrains of the Gale Crater have recorded the history of Mars and they are positive that the structure once held liquid water.

Curiosity's mission is to determine the planet's habitability. (Image taken on Mars: NASA)

It has also been revealed that Mars once had salt lakes that went through wet and dry phases similar to those on the Earth. Researchers claim that the liquid water on Mars may have become unsustainable and evaporated as the planet’s atmosphere became thinner, and the pressure at the surface became lesser.

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The Curiosity rover has been exploring the Martian surface in order to characterise the potentially habitable environments and evidence about the transition of Mars from a warm and wet planet to the cold, dry desert which we see today.