First color image of Mars returned from Curiosity

Aug 07, 2012
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

(Phys.org) -- This view of the landscape to the north of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the afternoon of the first day after landing. (The team calls this day Sol 1, which is the first Martian day of operations; Sol 1 began on Aug. 6, 2012.)

In the distance, the image shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater. The image is murky because the MAHLI's removable dust cover is apparently coated with dust blown onto the camera during the rover's terminal descent. Images taken without the dust cover in place are expected to during checkout of the in coming weeks.

The MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of 's robotic arm. At the time the MAHLI Sol 1 image was acquired, the robotic arm was in its stowed position. It has been stowed since the rover was packaged for its Nov. 26, 2011, launch.

The MAHLI has a transparent dust cover. This image was acquired with the dust cover closed. The cover will not be opened until more than a week after the landing.

When the robotic arm, turret, and MAHLI are stowed, the MAHLI is in a position that is rotated 30 degrees relative to the rover deck. The MAHLI image shown here has been rotated to correct for that tilt, so that the sky is "up" and the ground is "down".

When the robotic arm, turret, and MAHLI are stowed, the MAHLI is looking out from the front left side of the rover. This is much like the view from the driver's side of cars sold in the USA.

The main purpose of Curiosity's MAHLI camera is to acquire close-up, high-resolution views of rocks and soil at the rover's Gale Crater field site. The camera is capable of focusing on any at distances of about 0.8 inch (2.1 centimeters) to infinity. This means it can, as shown here, also obtain pictures of the .

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User comments : 10

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GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 07, 2012
The image is murky because the MAHLI's removable dust cover is apparently coated with dust


I was glad to see that. It would not be good for the mission if the air was as dusty as it looks there.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2012
Good idea to make the dustcover transparent.

First impression would be that the surface is very even with only very small bits of rubble. I wonder how much of he surface layer was cleared by the skycrane (which may or may not be an added bonus).

The slightly greenish discoloration about the edges is puzzling, though.
SoylentGrin
not rated yet Aug 07, 2012
The slightly greenish discoloration about the edges is puzzling, though.


Algae.
Satene
1 / 5 (4) Aug 07, 2012
The slightly greenish discoloration about the edges is puzzling, though.
Martian bottom naked.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.1 / 5 (23) Aug 07, 2012
Good idea to make the dustcover transparent.
Rifle scope dust covers are often transparent so you don't have to take them off. Nothing new under the sun.
I wonder how much of he surface layer was cleared by the skycrane (which may or may not be an added bonus).
The reason the sky crane was used was to minimize dust blown up on the rover. But you probably already knew this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (21) Aug 07, 2012
@soylentgrin
The slightly greenish discoloration about the edges is puzzling, though.


Algae.
'Mars is people!'
Peteri
4.4 / 5 (8) Aug 07, 2012
The reason the sky crane was used was to minimize dust blown up on the rover. But you probably already knew this.


Actually, the main reason a sky crane was used is because the rover weighs almost a metric tonne (899kg to be exact) and air-bags would not have been able to cushion the vehicle adequately.

See this link for further details: http://mars.jpl.n...kycrane/
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (23) Aug 07, 2012
The reason the sky crane was used was to minimize dust blown up on the rover. But you probably already knew this.


Actually, the main reason a sky crane was used is because the rover weighs almost a metric tonne (899kg to be exact) and air-bags would not have been able to cushion the vehicle adequately.
Actually, I believe I was a little more right than you?

"A legged lander approach would have caused several design problems. It would have needed to have engines high enough above the ground when landing to not form a dust cloud that could damage the rover's instruments. This would have required long landing legs that would need to have significant width to keep the center of gravity low..."

-This traditional method, which has been used on all moon and mars landers to date save for the airbag mission, would have included a list of problems including dirt on the lander.

See wiki or the NASA site for more info.
GSwift7
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 08, 2012
Actually, I believe I was a little more right than you?


Yes, Otto, you are absolutely correct. I think Peteri mis-understood the question. I think he was only comparing the choices of airbags or skycrane, not considering a standard ground landing at all.
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 12, 2012
I wonder how much of he surface layer was cleared by the skycrane (which may or may not be an added bonus).


I can't remember which article it was mentioned in, exactly. But when it landed, it cleared about half a meter of dirt from the surface. Which would have been an added bonus.