New Mars rover sends higher-resolution image

Aug 06, 2012
This image shows one of the first views from NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT (early morning hours Aug. 6 EDT). It was taken through a "fisheye" wide-angle lens on one of the rover's Hazard-Avoidance cameras. These engineering cameras are located at the rover's base. As planned, the early images are lower resolution. Larger color images are expected later in the week when the rover's mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(Phys.org) -- About two hours after landing on Mars and beaming back its first image, NASA's Curiosity rover transmitted a higher-resolution image of its new Martian home, Gale Crater. Mission Control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., received the image, taken by one of the vehicle's lower-fidelity, black-and-white Hazard Avoidance Cameras - or Hazcams.

"Curiosity's landing site is beginning to come into focus," said John Grotzinger, project manager of 's Mars mission, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "In the image, we are looking to the northwest. What you see on the horizon is the of Gale Crater. In the foreground, you can see a gravel field. The question is, where does this come from?  It is the first of what will be many scientific questions to come from our new home on Mars."  

While the image is twice as big in pixel size as the first images beamed down from the rover, they are only half the size of full-resolution Hazcam images. During future mission operations, these images will be used by the mission's navigators and rover drivers to help plan the vehicle's next drive. Other cameras aboard Curiosity, with color capability and much higher resolution, are expected to be sent back to Earth over the next several days.

landed at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, (1:32 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6) near the foot of a mountain three miles (about five kilometers) tall inside Gale Crater, 96 miles (nearly 155 kilometers) 7in diameter. During a nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether the region has ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life.

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User comments : 10

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dschlink
not rated yet Aug 06, 2012
Waiting for the first shots of the landing site from the Orbiter.
javjav
1 / 5 (3) Aug 06, 2012
What I don't understand is why they crashed the crane / mothership on purpose. Wouldn't it be better to fly it a bit more and explore the area ahead of the rover? Just one minute of extra fuel would be enough for the ship to preview an area that the rover will need several months to explore, and it would help to establish the optimal path for it, Once liberated from the weight of the rover and thanks to Mars lower gravity, just a few kg of extra fuel could provide significant autonomy.
Satene
5 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2012
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter already took all possible or impossible photos from every place of Mars surface with its excellent camera. To maintain similar quality with crane / mothership you should invest into pretty expensive camera and pointing device, which would serve for single purpose only = additional weight and waste of money.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
not rated yet Aug 06, 2012
The MSL is the "mothership", where the resources are concentrated for mass and cost reasons. I doubt that they could afford anything on the crane, the mission was over mass and cost budgets many ways from Sunday anyway. Many science experiments on MSL were thrown out.
javjav
1 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2012
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter already took all possible or impossible photos from every place of Mars surface with its excellent camera.
MRO camera is excellent but is in in orbit!!, It can not compete with decent cameras located a few meters from a target. This little gravel around the rover can't be seen in MRO pictures, nor small rocks of interest, nor nearby meteorites, nor possible ice patchs near the surface. MRO didn't warn Spirit rover about the sand trap that killed him. A couple of cameras and a small radar would be enough (already onboard and used for final approach). ."Expensive pointing devices"? really? any microrig from current drones could do the job. No big anthena is needed, just record data on a protected black-box device (with flash memory and a WIFI.style anthena) to send it to the rover later for further rely to earth. I am sure they seriously considered something like that, but they had good reasons to not doing it. That reasons is what I would like to know
extinct
not rated yet Aug 06, 2012
"Other cameras aboard Curiosity, with color capability and much higher resolution, are expected to be sent back to Earth over the next several days."

wow, amazing! if they can send entire cameras back to earth from Mars, surely they can send a rock sample or two. as bad as it is for me to be facetious, it's still not as bad as it is for thousands of people to have to read articles published which phys.org never did proofread. this happens a lot.
Milou
not rated yet Aug 06, 2012
How about a microphone? Wouldn't it be neat to hear the sounds on Mars??? Looking forward to the rover's explorations.
DavidW
1 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2012
Congrats on the success.
The live stream cut out right at the landing.
The sound went in and out for the entire hour I watched before the landing. It made me feel sick to my stomach. Whoever was in charge of of this should be fired because they tried to blame the public for too many hits, when common tech properly deployed would have prevented both issues. The person responsible was not qualified to do their job, nor was the person that hired them qualified to review their skill set.
Deathclock
not rated yet Aug 06, 2012
Congrats on the success.
The live stream cut out right at the landing.
The sound went in and out for the entire hour I watched before the landing. It made me feel sick to my stomach. Whoever was in charge of of this should be fired because they tried to blame the public for too many hits, when common tech properly deployed would have prevented both issues. The person responsible was not qualified to do thei job, nor was the person that hired them qualified to review their skill set.


Problem was on your end, I watched the live stream on NASA's website for about 30 minutes during and after the landing with zero problems.
GSwift7
not rated yet Aug 06, 2012
The live stream cut out right at the landing.
The sound went in and out for the entire hour I watched before the landing. It made me feel sick to my stomach. Whoever was in charge of of this should be fired because they tried to blame the public for too many hits


Problem was on your end, I watched the live stream on NASA's website for about 30 minutes during and after the landing with zero problems


I watched the whole thing in beautiful 1080p HD. The sound and picture were perfect from the beginning to the end (I even watched for an hour afterwards). I had zero issues with the feed. It was like watching a blu-ray. The production quality was astounding. They made a live event look like it was pre-recorded and edited ahead of time, which is not an easy thing to do.

Are you sure you were watching it directly from the JPL feed, and not some 3rd party?