Imagine traveling over 30 million miles through space to the surface of Mars just to stumble upon what could easily be the setting of a spaghetti western.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory just released its latest image transmissions from Mars rover Curiosity that show a 50-foot-high, 200-foot-long mesa, rock formations and the strange beauty of uncharted nothingness.
The images were shot by a robot with an arm-mounted camera called the Mastcam, and were released four years after Curiosity landed on the red planet. They're the result of over 130 high-resolution images put together, then adjusted to show what the surface would look like under something similar to Earth's daylight conditions.
All that flat surface is formed from mud deposits of the Martian lakebed. The hills and peaks are what's left of wind-eroded sandstone.
The Curiosity actually already accomplished its main mission years ago, in which it "found and examined an ancient habitable environment," according to the JPL. Now, on the extended mission, NASA's trying to use Curiosity to find out, based on old lakes, how Mars got so rough.
In the meantime, back on Earth we get breathtaking images of one incredible road trip.