NASA Curiosity Rover Beams Back Stunning Mars Views
On Wednesday, Aug. 22, Curiosity completed its first test drive on Mars, leaving tread marks on the planet's dusty, rocky surface.
These are images taken before and after the Curiosity rover shot its laser 50 times at rocks on the surface, taken by the instrument's remote micro-imager (RMI).
Leaving a Mark
Scour marks left by the rover's descent stage during landing can be seen to the left and right of the wheel tracks. The lower slopes of Mount Sharp are visible at the top of the picture, near the center.
Scouring the Surface
This photo mosaic shows the scour mark, dubbed Goulburn, left by the thrusters on the sky crane that helped lower NASA's Curiosity rover to the red planet.
Up in Arms
The extended robotic arm of Curiosity can be seen in this mosaic of full-resolution images from the rover's Navigation camera (Navcam).
On Aug. 22, the rover made its first move, going forward about 15 feet, rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet.
Engineers wiggled the wheels as a test of the rover's steering and anticipate embarking on Curiosity's first drive in the next couple of days.
This is the first laser spectrum from the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on Curiosity, showing elements present in the sample rock dubbed "Coronation."
Pass the Plasma
The pressure on Mars is only about 1 percent of that at sea level on Earth, allowing laser plasmas to expand more and become brighter.
The orbiter has performed global mapping of neutrons, showing varying degrees of hydrogen in the Martian soil, an indicator of the presence of water.