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Mission Update: Curiosity Delivers New Photos From Mars

Radford C. Aug 17, 2012 0

Just a week ago NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on the surface of Mars, and began transmitting high-resolution images of the stunning landscape from the landing site inside the Gale Crater. The news came after NASA  hosted a media teleconference which included the transmissions by the rover show the geological environment.  John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist from the California Institute of Technology showed off the latest pictures while Roger Wiens, ChemCam principal investigator from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, explains how the camera operates, calibrates and captures the images.

Below are images taken directly off NASA site and have been resized accordingly. Full sizes of the images can be seen through the source link below. For now, enjoy these incredible shots of the Mars’ surface as well as some self-portraits of the rover.

Gallery

Still Life with Rover

Still Life with Rover - Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This full-resolution self-portrait shows the deck of NASA’s Curiosity rover from the rover’s Navigation camera. The back of the rover can be seen at the top left of the image, and two of the rover’s right side wheels can be seen on the left. The undulating rim of Gale Crater forms the lighter color strip in the background. Bits of gravel, about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in size, are visible on the deck of the rover.

This mosaic is made of 20 images, each of 1,024 by 1,024 pixels, taken late at night on Aug. 7 PDT (early morning Aug. 8 EDT). It uses an average of the Navcam positions to synthesize the point of view of a single camera, with a field of view of 120 degrees. Seams between the images have been minimized as much as possible. The wide field of view introduces some distortion at the edges of the mosaic.

The “augmented reality” or AR tag seen on the rover deck, in the middle of the image, can be used in the future with smart phones to obtain more information about the mission.

Martian Treasure Map

Martian Treasure Map - Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image shows the landing site of NASA’s Curiosity rover and destinations scientists want to investigate. Curiosity landed inside Gale Crater on Mars on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT) at the green dot, within the Yellowknife quadrangle. The team has chosen for it to move toward the region marked by a blue dot that is nicknamed Glenelg. That area marks the intersection of three kinds of terrain. The science team thought the name Glenelg was appropriate because, if Curiosity traveled there, it would visit it twice — both coming and going — and the word Glenelg is a palindrome. Then, the rover will aim to drive to the blue spot marked “Base of Mt. Sharp”, which is a natural break in the dunes that will allow Curiosity to begin scaling the lower reaches of Mount Sharp. At the base of Mt. Sharp are layered buttes and mesas that scientists hope will reveal the area’s geological history.

These annotations have been made on top of an image acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Glenelg Intrigue

Glenelg Intrigue – Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image shows a closer view of the landing site of NASA’s Curiosity rover and a destination nearby known as Glenelg. Curiosity landed inside Gale Crater on Mars on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT) at the blue dot. It is planning on driving to an area marked with a red dot that is nicknamed Glenelg. That area marks the intersection of three kinds of terrain. Starting clockwise from the top of this image, scientists are interested in this brighter terrain because it may represent a kind of bedrock suitable for eventual drilling by Curiosity. The next terrain shows the marks of many small craters and intrigues scientists because it might represent an older or harder surface. The third, which is the kind of terrain Curiosity landed in, is interesting because scientists can try to determine if the same kind of rock texture at Goulburn, an area where blasts from the descent stage rocket engines scoured away some of the surface, also occurs at Glenelg.

The science team thought the name Glenelg was appropriate because, if Curiosity traveled there, it would visit the area twice — both coming and going — and the word Glenelg is a palindrome. After Glenelg, the rover will aim to drive to the base of Mount Sharp.

These annotations have been made on top of an image acquired by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Goulburn Scour Mark

Goulburn Scour Mark – Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This cropped image from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows one set of marks on the surface of Mars where blasts from the descent-stage rocket engines blew away some of the surface material. This particular scour mark is near the rear left wheel of the rover and is the left-most scour mark on the left side of this larger panorama from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (seePIA16051). This scour mark is named Goulburn after a 2-billion year-old sequence of rocks in northern Canada.

The Promised Land

The Promised Land – Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This image (cut out from a mosaic) shows the view from the landing site of NASA’s Curiosity rover toward the lower reaches of Mount Sharp, where Curiosity is likely to begin its ascent through hundreds of feet (meters) of layered deposits. The lower several hundred feet (meters) show evidence of bearing hydrated minerals, based on orbiter observations. The terrain Curiosity will explore is marked by hills, buttes, mesas and canyons on the scale of one-to-three story buildings, very much like the Four Corners region of the western United States.

A scale bar indicates a distance of 1.2 miles (2 kilometers).

Curiosity’s 34-millimeter Mast Camera acquired this high-resolution image on Aug. 8, 2012 PDT (Aug. 9 EDT).

This image shows the colors modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called “white balancing,” is useful to scientists for recognizing and distinguishing rocks by color in more familiar lighting.

Head of Mast on Mars Rover Curiosity

Head of Mast on Mars Rover Curiosity – Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

This view of the head of the remote sensing mast on the Mars Science Laboratory mission’s rover, Curiosity, shows seven of the 17 cameras on the rover. Two pairs of Navigation cameras (Navcams), among the rover’s 12 engineering cameras, are the small circular apertures on either side of the head. On the top are the optics of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) investigation, which includes a laser and a telescopic camera. The Mast Camera (MastCam) instrument includes a 100-millimeter-focal-length camera called MastCam-100 or M-100, and a 34-millimeter-focal-length camera called the MastCam-34 or M-34. The two cameras of the MastCam are both scientific and natural color imaging systems. The M-100 looks through a 1.2-inch (3-centimeter) baffle aperture, and the M-34 looks through a 2.1-inch (5.3-centimete) baffle aperture.

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built MastCam and two other cameras on Curiosity. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Via »NASA