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This false-color map shows the area within Gale Crater on Mars, where NASA’s Curiosity rover landed. It merges topographic data with thermal inertia data that record the ability of the surface to hold onto heat. Red indicates a surface material that retains its heat longer into the evening, suggesting differences relative to its surroundings. One possibility is that the materials that make up these soils and rocks have been more tightly bound together by mineral cements. The black oval indicates the targeted landing area for the rover, known as the “landing ellipse,” and the cross shows where the rover actually touched down at the Bradbury Landing site. An alluvial fan, or fan-shaped deposit where debris spread out downslope, has been highlighted in lighter colors for better viewing. This image was obtained by the Thermal Emission Imaging System on NASA’s Odyssey orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

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