Mars Weather Map, Aug. 5
This global map of Mars was acquired on Aug. 5, 2012, by the Mars Color Imager instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. One global map is generated each day to forecast weather conditions for the entry, descent and landing of NASA's Curiosity rover. The atmosphere is clear and seasonal around Gale Crater, in agreement with the computer models used to simulate Curiosity's landing. The dust storm southwest of Gale Crater, first seen on July 31, changed into an inactive dust cloud on Aug. 2, and now has dispersed even further. Dust activity had been picking up on parts of the planet before landing, but none of these dust clouds arrived at Gale Crater before Curiosity did.
Hitting the Marks
This graphic shows the times at which NASA's Curiosity rover hit its milestones during its entry, descent and landing on Mars. The times the events actually occurred are shown in red. The times that Earth received confirmation that the events occurred appear in blue. All times are listed in Pacific Daylight Time.
Traces of Landing
This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA's Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage's rocket engines. The images that were used to make the mosaic were obtained by the rover's Navigation cameras on Aug. 7 PDT (Aug. 8 EDT).
The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The back of the rover is to the left. The blast marks can be seen in the middle of the image. Several small bits of rock and soil, which were made airborne by the rocket engines, are visible on the rover's top deck.
Witnessing the Descent Stage Crash?
The distant blob seen in the view on left, taken by a Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover, may be a cloud created during the crash of the rover's descent stage. Pictures taken about 45 minutes later (right) do not show the cloud, providing further evidence it was from the crash.
The bright spot at upper center, which is larger in the view at right, is due to image saturation from looking at the sun.
These images are from the rover's rear Hazard-avoidance cameras. They are one-quarter of full resolution.