Curiosity rover scientists Justin Maki, John Grotzinger and Michael Malin discuss Martian imagery showing a Mojave-like scene on Wednesday.
This Picassoesque self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity rover is based on images taken by the navigation cameras on the rover's mast. The camera snapped pictures all the way around the rover while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead. Those images are shown here in a polar projection.
The first image taken by the navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover 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 position of the shadow helps confirm the sun's location. The rover's name and a simplified smartphone tag are emblazoned on a piece of hardware in the foreground.
Curiosity's First Radiation Measurements on Mars
Like a human working in a radiation environment, NASA's Curiosity rover carries its own version of a dosimeter to measure radiation from outer space and the sun. This graphic shows the flux of radiation detected by Curiosity's Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on Mars over three and a half hours on Aug. 6 PDT (Aug. 7 UTC). The data show that the radiation levels measured on Mars during this period of quiet solar activity are reduced from the average radiation detected in space during Curiosity's cruise to Mars. This is explained by the rover being on the planet versus out in space, where it would have more exposure to radiation from all directions. Red arrows point to spikes in the radiation dose rate from heavy ion particles, which would be the most dangerous to astronauts.
During the course of the mission, scientists will study the variation of the radiation levels as a function of solar activity to understand and model the effects of the Martian atmosphere on radiation dose rates. Scientists and engineers will use this information to improve our understanding of how the radiation environment affects habitability for possible Martian microbial life, and, in addition, to help design the best kind of shielding needed for human beings on the surface.
RAD measures 26 kinds of charged particles as well as neutrons and gamma rays. Understanding how the flux of these different particles change with time is an important objective for RAD
Curiosity Takes It All In
This is the first 360-degree panoramic view from NASA's Curiosity rover, taken with the Navigation cameras. 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 near the center are full-resolution.
Mount Sharp is to the right, and the north Gale Crater rim can be seen at center. The rover's body is in the foreground, with the shadow of its head, or mast, poking up to the right.
These images were acquired at 3:30pm on Mars, or the night of Aug. 7 PDT (early morning Aug. 8 EDT). Thumbnails are 64 by 64 pixels in size; and full-resolution images are 1024 by 1024 pixels.
Gravel-Covered Martian Surface
This full-resolution color image from NASA's Curiosity Rover shows the gravel-covered surface of Mars. It was taken by the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) several minutes after Curiosity touched down on Mars.
The camera is about 30 inches (70 centimeters) from the surface as the rover sits on the ground. The image pixel scale is about 0.02 inches (0.5 millimeters), but the camera is slightly out of focus at this distance, so the actual ground scale is about 0.06 inches (1.5 millimeters). A sliver of sunlight passing through the structure of the rover illuminates the surface. The largest rock fragment in the image is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) long. Most are much smaller. A rover wheel is visible at the top left.
This is the 1,008th image that MARDI took. The original image from MARDI has been geometrically corrected to look flat. Curiosity landed inside of a crater known as Gale Crater.
After waking up to the rousing refrains of the Beatles' "Good Morning Good Morning," a healthy Curiosity continued checking out her systems and returning amazing imagery. The Sol 2 morning and afternoon UHF communications passes from NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft provided significant new data, including spectacular full-frame images of the Mars Science Laboratory's descent through the Martian atmosphere by Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) instrument. Other imagery included full-frame views from the rover's navigation cameras, or Navcams, looking at the rim of Gale Crater; the first, lower-resolution thumbnail 360-degree view of Curiosity's new surroundings in Gale Crater; deck pan images of the rover herself; and images of the Martian surface next to the rover. Another image set, courtesy of the Context Camera, or CTX, aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has pinpointed the final resting spots of the six, 55-pound (25-kilogram) entry ballast masses. These tungsten masses impacted the Martian surface at high speed, about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) from Curiosity's landing location.
The rover's high-gain antenna was successfully pointed toward Earth. Its 3.6-foot-tall (1.1-meter) remote sensing mast was deployed, and range of motion was successfully tested. Surface radiation data were acquired from the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) instrument but have not yet been downlinked. Curiosity's temperatures are running a bit warmer than expected; however, the flight team believes this is because Gale Crater is simply a bit warmer than originally predicted.
Plans for Sol 3 include assessing the performance of the high-gain antenna; uplinking files for the upcoming transition of Curiosity's flight software to the surface-optimized version R10 on Sol 5; Radiation Assessment Detector instrument observations; and Mastcam calibration target and 360-degree color panorama images. In addition, the rover's Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), Chemistry & Mineralogy Analyzer (CheMin), Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), and Dynamic Albedo Neutrons (DAN) instruments will be checked out.