Well, this is cool.
Earlier in the week, NASA promised us bigger, color photos from the surface of Mars. And what do you know, mark them good on their word. That's because the Curiosity rover has just sent the first color panaroma image from Gale Crater.
Ok, it's not in full resolution, but instead pieced together from 130 different 144x144 pixel images. Still, who's complaining? Look, it's MARS! (Click to enlarge)
NASA's seems pretty thrilled about Curiosity getting out there and sampling the different materials that make up Mars' surface:
Scientists will be taking a closer look at several splotches in the foreground that appear gray. These areas show the effects of the descent stage's rocket engines blasting the ground. What appeared as a dark strip of dunes in previous, black-and-white pictures from Curiosity can also be seen along the top of this mosaic, but the color images also reveal additional shades of reddish brown around the dunes, likely indicating different textures or materials.
According to JPL, we can expect to get selected full frames from this panorama, which measure 1,200x1,200 pixels each, in due time.