Mars Curiosity rover sends first image of Red Planet back to Earth
posted Monday, August 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM EDT
Here it is folks: the first image of Mars sent back to Earth by the Curiosity rover. And no, the Curosity's image from the Red Planet is not actually red, it's in black-and-white.
It's still very cool though. (Full resolution, color images from Curiosity will come later this the week, according to NASA.)
The $2.5-billion Curiosity probe and rover landed in the Gale Crater on Mars early this morning. The landing, which involved being lowered onto the Red Planet by 25-foot cables from a hovering rocket, was a bit of a "nail biter" but it's already reaping rewards, including this image.
The shot, according to NASA, was taken through a fisheye lens on the left "eye" of "a stereo pair of Hazard-Avoidance cameras on the left-rear side of the rover."
As planned, the image is only one-half of full resolution as will be all of the Curiosity rover's early engineering images, according to NASA.
Larger color images from other cameras on the rover will be transmitted later in the week when high-resolution cameras in the rover's mast are deployed, NASA says.
Here's more about the shot from NASA.
"The clear dust cover that protected the camera during landing has been sprung open. Part of the spring that released the dust cover can be seen at the bottom right, near the rover's wheel.
On the top left, part of the rover's power supply is visible.
Some dust appears on the lens even with the dust cover off.
The cameras are looking directly into the sun, so the top of the image is saturated. Looking straight into the sun does not harm the cameras. The lines across the top are an artifact called 'blooming' that occurs in the camera's detector because of the saturation."