Gale crater in 3-D

3-D anaglyph of Gale crater showing the varied geological terrain that the Curiosity rover will be investigating. Credit: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum) / K. Gwinner / Daniel Macháček

Gale crater has become one of the most well-known places on Mars during the past week, with the landing of the Curiosity rover. About 154 kilometres (96 miles) in diameter, it is an area of much scientific interest, with a mountainous rim, a huge mountain in the centre, old river beds and alluvial fans, buttes, sand dunes and sedimentary layers, including clays, dating back billions of years.

It is one of the most scenic places on Mars seen up close so far, as the early ground photographs have already shown, but what does Gale look like from above? This orbital image puts everything in context – it is an anaglyph, meant to be ideally viewed with 3-D glasses or other 3-D viewer, but even without that, still provides a great overall view of the landscape here. Click on the image to see the full-size version and then zoom in. The small circle just to the north-west of the central mountain (Mount Sharp) is the landing spot of Curiosity. Thanks to Daniel Macháček for use of the anaglyph.