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Curiosity landed in Quad 51 (nicknamed Yellowknife) of Aeolis Palus in the crater Gale. [66][67][68][69] The landing site coordinates are: 4°35′22″S 137°26′30″E / 4. 5895°S 137. 4417°E / -4. 5895; 137. 4417. [70][71] The location was named Bradbury Landing on August 22, 2012, in honor of science fiction author Ray Bradbury. Gale, an estimated 3. 5 to 3. 8 billion-year-old impact crater, is hypothesized to have first been gradually filled in by sediments; first water-deposited, and then wind-deposited, possibly until it was completely covered. Wind erosion then scoured out the sediments, leaving an isolated 5. 5-kilometer-high (3. 4 mi) mountain, Aeolis Mons ("Mount Sharp"), at the center of the 154 km (96 mi) wide crater. Thus, it is believed that the rover may have the opportunity to study two billion years of Martian history in the sediments exposed in the mountain. Additionally, its landing site is near an alluvial fan, which is hypothesized to be the result of a flow of ground water, either before the deposition of the eroded sediments or else in relatively recent geologic history. [72][73]


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