The Curiosity Rover’s exploration of Glen Torridon, Gale crater, Mars: An overview of the campaign and scientific results

JGR Planets
By: , and 



The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, explored the clay mineral-bearing Glen Torridon region for one martian year between January 2019 and January 2021, including a short campaign onto the Greenheugh pediment. The Glen Torridon campaign sought to characterize the geology of the area, seek evidence of habitable environments, and document the onset of a potentially global climatic transition during the Hesperian era. Curiosity roved 5 km in total throughout Glen Torridon, from the Vera Rubin ridge to the northern margin of the Greenheugh pediment. Curiosity acquired samples from 11 drill holes during this campaign and conducted the first martian thermochemolytic-based organics detection experiment with the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite. The lowest elevations within Glen Torridon represent a continuation of lacustrine Murray formation deposits, but overlying widespread cross bedded sandstones indicate an interval of more energetic fluvial environments and prompted the definition of a new stratigraphic formation in the Mount Sharp group called the Carolyn Shoemaker formation. Glen Torridon hosts abundant phyllosilicates yet remains compositionally and mineralogically comparable to the rest of the Mount Sharp group. Glen Torridon samples have a great diversity and abundance of sulfur-bearing organic molecules, which are consistent with the presence of ancient refractory organic matter. The Glen Torridon region experienced heterogeneous diagenesis, with the most striking alteration occurring just below the Siccar Point unconformity at the Greenheugh pediment. Results from the pediment campaign show that the capping sandstone formed within the Stimson Hesperian aeolian sand sea that experienced seasonal variations in wind direction.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The Curiosity Rover’s exploration of Glen Torridon, Gale crater, Mars: An overview of the campaign and scientific results
Series title JGR Planets
DOI 10.1029/2022JE007185
Volume 128
Issue 1
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description e2022JE007185, 31 p.
Other Geospatial Gale Crater, Glen Torridon, Mars
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