NASA's Curiosity Mission: Scenes From the New Mars Rover

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-08-07
 
 
 

Curiositys First Color Image of the Martian Landscape

This view of the landscape to the north of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the afternoon of the first day after landing. (The team calls this day Sol 1, which is the first Martian day of operations; Sol 1 began Aug. 6, 2012.) In the distance, the image shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater.

Curiositys First Color Image of the Martian Landscape

Early Color Image From Curiositys Descent

This color thumbnail image was obtained by NASA's Curiosity rover during its descent to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The image from Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager illustrates the roughly circular swirls of dust kicked up from the Martian surface by the rocket motor exhaust. At this point, Curiosity is about 70 feet (20 meters) above the surface.

Early Color Image From Curiositys Descent

Curiosity Color Close-Up Upon Landing

This color thumbnail image was obtained by NASA's Curiosity rover during its descent to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). This image was obtained by Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager and is representative of the images acquired once the Curiosity rover was resting on the surface of Mars after touchdown. It illustrates a narrow sunlit strip of the pebble-covered surface while the rest of the view is in the shadow of the rover.

Curiosity Color Close-Up Upon Landing

Curiositys Wheel During Descent

This color thumbnail image was obtained by NASA's Curiosity rover during its descent to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). This image was obtained by Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager. It illustrates the first appearance of the left front wheel of the Curiosity rover after deployment of the suspension system as the vehicle was about to touch down on Mars.

Curiositys Wheel During Descent

Curiosity Sails to Mars as Heat Shield Falls Away

In the morning hours of Aug. 6, as NASA's Curiosity rover fell to the surface of Mars, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured an image of the rover gliding on its parachute. The image was taken with the orbiter's High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

Curiosity Sails to Mars as Heat Shield Falls Away

Curiositys Early Views of Mars

This image shows one of the first views from NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT (early morning hours Aug. 6 EDT). It was taken through a "fisheye" wide-angle lens on one of the rover's Hazard-Avoidance cameras.

Curiositys Early Views of Mars

Martian Surface Below Curiosity

This image was obtained by NASA's Curiosity rover during its descent to the surface of Mars on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). This image from Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager reveals surface features, including relatively dark dunes, degraded impact craters and other geologic features, including small escarpments that range in size from a few feet (meters) to many tens of feet (meters) in height.

Martian Surface Below Curiosity

Curiositys Heat Shield in View

This picture was obtained by NASA's Curiosity rover during its descent to the surface of Mars Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The image was obtained by the Mars Descent Imager instrument known as MARDI and shows the 15-foot (4.5-meter) diameter heat shield when it was about 50 feet (16 meters) from the spacecraft. It was obtained two and one-half minutes before touching down on the surface of Mars and about three seconds after heat-shield separation.

Curiositys Heat Shield in View

Behold Mount Sharp!

This image taken by NASA's Curiosity shows what lies ahead for the rover—its main science target, Mount Sharp. The rover's shadow can be seen in the foreground, and the dark bands beyond are dunes. Rising up in the distance is the highest peak Mount Sharp at a height of about 3.4 miles, taller than Mt. Whitney in California.

Behold Mount Sharp!

Cheers for Curiosity

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., celebrate the landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on the Red Planet.

Cheers for Curiosity

Detail Observed From 10 Feet Away With Curiositys ChemCam

This image displays the type of detail discernable with the telescopic camera of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory mission's Curiosity rover. The instrument uses a telescope for spectroscopic analysis of chemical elements in targets, such as rocks or soil. The same telescope serves the instrument's camera, called the remote microimager. For this image, the remote microimager photographed a dollar bill from 10 feet (3 meters) away.

Detail Observed From 10 Feet Away With Curiositys ChemCam

Rocket Fuel