UPDATE: NASA has released the first video of the descent.
Since the Curiosity rover landed safely on the surface of Mars earlier today, we’ve only been treated to a few black and white photos from the rover’s rear Hazcam. Of course, “only” kind of sells it short, and simply is relative to what’s coming. The few images that we’ve received up to this point are amazing in their own right, but NASA says that bigger, better photos are on the way.
The Curiosity rover is equipped to transmit better quality images – just as soon as the rover’s mast is deployed (it contains the high-res cameras). The official Twitter account of the rover says that later this week, we’ll start seeing “bigger, color pictures” from the surface of the Red Planet.
FYI, I aim to send bigger, color pictures from Mars later this week once I’ve got my head up & Mastcam active #MSL
But for now, here are some of the images that the Curiosity rover has sent back to an awestruck public:
“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,” says the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).
The rover’s shadow:
And be sure to check out the amazing photo snapped by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the rover descending via parachute.
The journey to Mars for the 1,982-pound Curiosity rover took nine months. Its two-year mission involves investigation through image captures and the analysis of soil, rock, and atmospheric samples.