NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover captured stunning images last week of layered rock formations on the red planet's surface.
The photos, taken on Sept. 8 in the Murray Buttes Region, were captured by the rover’s MastCam.
“The new images arguably rival photos taken in U.S. National Parks,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.
The photos show Martian buttes and mesas, which were formed by erosion and sandstorms.
The Martian mesas look a great deal like those seen in the American West.
"Curiosity's science team has been just thrilled to go on this road trip through a bit of the American desert Southwest on Mars," Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity Project Scientist of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement.
Vasavada said studying the formations up close has allowed researchers to better understand how sand dunes were buried before becoming "chemically changed by groundwater, exhumed and eroded to form the landscape that we see today.”
The Curiosity rover landed on the red planet four years ago and is currently examining younger layers of the planet’s surface as it climbs Mars' Mount Sharp, according to NASA.
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