NASA’s newly landed Mars science rover Curiosity snapped the first colour image of its surroundings while an orbiting sister probe photographed litter left behind during the rover’s daring do-or-die descent to the surface, scientists said Tuesday.Curiosity’s colour image, taken with a dust cover still on the camera lens, shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater, a vast basin where the nuclear-powered, six-wheeled rover touched down Sunday night after flying through space for more than eight months.

The picture proved that one of the rover’s key instruments, a camera known as the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, was in good working order affixed to the end of Curiosity robot arm.Designed to take magnified, close-up images of rocks and other objects, or wide shots of landscapes, the camera currently remains stowed on the rover’s deck. But once in full operation, scientists can use it to capture fine details with a resolution as high as 13.9 microns per pixel — several times finer than the width of a human hair.(Reuters)

These are the first two full-resolution images of the Martian surface from the Navigation cameras on NASA’s Curiosity rover, which are located on the rover’s “head” or mast. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground. The topography of the rim is very mountainous due to erosion. The ground seen in the middle shows low-relief scarps and plains. The foreground shows two distinct zones of excavation likely carved out by blasts from the rover’s descent stage thrusters.

Mars rover sends incredible photos

This is the first image taken by the Navigation cameras on NASA’s Curiosity rover. It shows the shadow of the rover’s now-upright mast in the center, and the arm’s shadow at left. The arm itself can be seen in the foreground.The navigation camera is used to help find the sun — information that is needed for locating, and communicating, with Earth. After the camera pointed at the sun, it turned in the opposite direction and took this picture. The position of the shadow helps confirm the sun’s location. The “augmented reality” or AR tag seen in the foreground can be used in the future with smart phones to obtain more information about the mission.

Mars rover sends incredible photos

This Picasso-like self portrait of NASA’s Curiosity rover was taken by its Navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover, while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead. Those images are shown here in a polar projection. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. Two of the tiles are full-resolution.

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