Curiosity’s Colorful Postcard From Mars
Curiosity’s Colorful Postcard From Mars, The rover’s dazzling panoramic photo captures red dust, sand dunes, and tan-hued rocks. NASA rover sends back colorful picture of Mars, The photo-snapping rover Curiosity returned another postcard from Mars on Thursday – the first 360-degree color panorama of Gale Crater.
Scientists admired the sweeping vista – red dust, dark sand dunes and tan-hued rocks. In the distance was the base of Mount Sharp, a three-mile-high mountain rising from the crater floor, where the six-wheel rover planned to go.
“It’s very exciting to think about getting there, but it is quite a ways away,” said mission scientist Dawn Sumner of the University of California, Davis.
Though it’s the sharpest view yet of the landing site, the panorama was stitched together from thumbnails while scientists waited for better quality pictures to be downloaded.
Since safely landing Sunday night, Curiosity has dazzled scientists with peeks of its new home that at first glance seems similar to California’s Mojave Desert. The initial pictures were fuzzy and black-and-white.
Earlier this week, the rover raised its mast containing high-definition and navigation cameras that have provided better views.
“It’s beautiful just to finally see the colors in the terrain,” said Jim Bell of Arizona State University, who is part of the mission.
The car-size rover remained healthy and busy testing its various instruments. Several pebbles landed on the rover’s deck next to its radiation sensor during the final seconds of landing as it was lowered to the ground, but project managers said the stones posed no risk.
Curiosity “continues to behave basically flawlessly,” said mission manager Mike Watkins of the NASA Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the $2.5 billion mission.