The Curiosity rover will land in a northern portion of Gale Crater in August 2012. This view of Gale is a mosaic of observations made in visible light by the Mars Odyssey orbiter.
Gale is 96 miles in diameter and holds a layered mountain rising about 3 miles above the crater floor. The ellipse superimposed on this image indicates the intended landing area, which is 12.4 miles by 15.5 miles. The portion of the crater within the landing area has an alluvial fan, likely formed by water-carried sediments.
The lower layers of the nearby mountain, which are within driving distance for Curiosity, contain minerals indicating a wet history.