Views from the Solar System (55)


Celebrating Curiosity


NASA – NASA/JPL ground controllers react to learning the the Curiosity rover had landed safely on Mars and begun to send back images to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. The rover will assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support life forms. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Curiosity’s Surroundings
This is one of the first images taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT (morning of Aug. 6 EDT). It was taken through a “fisheye” wide-angle lens on the left “eye” of a stereo pair of Hazard-Avoidance cameras on the left-rear side of the rover. The image is one-half of full resolution. 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.

As planned, the rover’s early engineering images are lower resolution. Larger color images from other cameras are expected later in the week when the rover’s mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Snaps Picture of Its Shadow
This is one of the first images taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT (morning of Aug. 6 EDT). It was taken through a “fisheye” wide-angle lens on one of the rover’s front Hazard-Avoidance cameras at one-quarter of full resolution. The camera is the right eye of a stereo pair positioned at the middle of the rover’s front side.

The clear dust cover on the camera is still on in this view, and dust can be seen around its edge, along with three cover fasteners. The rover’s shadow is visible in the foreground.

As planned, the rover’s early engineering images are lower resolution. Larger color images are expected later in the week when the rover’s mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Tracking Curiosity’s Entry, Descent and Landing on Mars
Tracking Curiosity’s Entry, Descent and Landing on Mars

This image shows engineers’ refinements of where NASA’s Curiosity rover will enter the atmosphere of Mars on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The background image is a false-color image from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

The yellow line tracks the expected path on the ground directly under Curiosity as it descends through Mars’ atmosphere and touches down at Gale Crater. When it enters the atmosphere, it is about 77.7 miles (125 kilometers) above the surface. The red oval is the predicted landing area, known as the “landing ellipse.” The graphic also marks critical events during descent, as well as the time they occur after atmospheric entry. The green line shows the ground track of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will be flying almost overhead Curiosity as it lands, and will provide communication support. Not shown in the picture are the ground tracks of NASA’s Mars Odyssey and ESA’s Mars Express, which will also provide support during Curiosity’s entry, descent and landing. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Landing Area, Up-Close
This image shows a close-up of the area where NASA’s Curiosity rover will enter the atmosphere of Mars on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). A trajectory correction maneuver was performed Saturday, July 28. The original pre-maneuver target for entry and its ground track appear in green. The entry target for the maneuver is shown in white and the latest, actual entry estimate is the orange point. The yellow line shows the latest estimated path directly under the spacecraft on the ground. This entry state has been uploaded to the spacecraft.

The background image is a false-color image from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Seventeen Cameras on Curiosity
This graphic shows the locations of the cameras on NASA’s Curiosity rover. The rover’s mast features seven cameras: the Remote Micro Imager, part of the Chemistry and Camera suite; four black-and-white Navigation Cameras (two on the left and two on the right) and two color Mast Cameras (Mastcams). The left Mastcam has a 34-millimeter lens and the right Mastcam has a 100-millimeter lens.

There is one camera on the end of a robotic arm that is stowed in this graphic; it is called the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).

There are nine cameras hard-mounted to the rover: two pairs of black-and-white Hazard Avoidance Cameras in the front, another two pair mounted to the rear of the rover, (dashed arrows in the graphic) and the color Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

SAM Instrument at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission will study chemistry of rocks, soil and air as the mission’s rover, Curiosity, investigates Gale Crater on Mars. SAM was built at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., where this image was taken. more> http://tinyurl.com/cespowa

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