NASA Curiosity Rover Beams Back Stunning Mars Views

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2012-08-24
 
 
 

Making Tracks

On Wednesday, Aug. 22, Curiosity completed its first test drive on Mars, leaving tread marks on the planet's dusty, rocky surface.

Making Tracks

Laser Show

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).

Laser Show

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.

Leaving a Mark

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.

Scouring the Surface

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).

Up in Arms

First Steps

On Aug. 22, the rover made its first move, going forward about 15 feet, rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet.

First Steps

Treading Heavily

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.

Treading Heavily

Chemical Reactions

This is the first laser spectrum from the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on Curiosity, showing elements present in the sample rock dubbed "Coronation."

Chemical Reactions

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.

Pass the Plasma

Groundwork

The orbiter has performed global mapping of neutrons, showing varying degrees of hydrogen in the Martian soil, an indicator of the presence of water.

Groundwork

Rocket Fuel