NASA's Curiosity Takes More Eye-Opening Photos of Mars

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2012-12-21
 
 
 

Curiosity's "Rocknest" Workplace

The Mars rover documented itself in the context of its work site, an area called "Rocknest Wind Drift," on the 84th Martian day of its mission. The drift consists of sand trapped on the downwind side of a group of dark cobbles.

Curiosity's

Scoop Marks

Beneath the crust surface, as revealed in the scoop troughs and the piles of sediment on the right side of each, is finer sand, which is a darker brown than the dust on the surface.

Scoop Marks

Sample Section

This collage shows the variety of soils found at landing sites on Mars. The elemental composition of the typical reddish soils was investigated by NASA's Viking, Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions, and now with the Curiosity rover (lower right).

Sample Section

Making Tracks

This map shows where Curiosity has driven since landing at a site subsequently named Bradbury Landing. In the trip there and to an overlook position beside Point Lake, Curiosity drove a total of 1,703 feet.

Making Tracks

Martian Panorama

Here's a stunning panorama compiled from a mosaic of images looking eastward from Rocknest, including the Point Lake area. The image has been white-balanced to show what the rocks and soils in it would look like if they were on Earth.

Martian Panorama

Raw Color

This version of a similar image is presented in raw color, showing what the scene looks like on Mars to the camera. The image was taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Curiosity while the rover was working at Rocknest.

Raw Color

Mars Ripple

This image shows the wall of a scuffmark Curiosity made in a windblown ripple of Martian sand with its wheel. The prominent depression with raised rims at the bottom center of the image was formed by one of the treads on Curiosity's front right wheel.

Mars Ripple

First Sample

The robotic arm on Curiosity delivered a sample of Martian soil to the rover's observation tray for the first time during the mission's 70th Martian day.

First Sample

Mars Rocks

Shown in the center, Rocknest 3 is a rock about 15 inches long and 4 inches tall, next to the Rocknest patch of windblown dust and sand where Curiosity scooped and analyzed soil samples.

Mars Rocks

Five Bites

Curiosity used a mechanism on its robotic arm to dig up five scoopsful of material from Rocknest, producing the five bite-mark pits visible in this image.

Five Bites

Rocket Fuel