Mars rover Curiosity uses arm camera at nightJanuary 24th, 2013 in Astronomy & Space / Space Exploration
This image of a Martian rock illuminated by white-light LEDs (light emitting diodes) is part of the first set of nighttime images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. MAHLI took the images on Jan. 22, 2012 (PST), after dark on the 165th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. This rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
(Phys.org)—NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has for the first time used the camera on its arm to take photos at night, illuminated by white lights and ultraviolet lights on the instrument.
Scientists used the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument for a close-up nighttime look at a rock target called "Sayunei," in an area where Curiosity's front-left wheel had scuffed the rock to provide fresh, dust-free materials to examine. The site is near where the rover team plans to begin using Curiosity to drill into a rock in coming weeks. The images of the rock Sayunei and of MAHLI's calibration target were taken on Jan. 22 (PST) and received on Earth Jan. 23.
The MAHLI, an adjustable-focus color camera, includes its own LED (light-emitting diode) illumination sources.
"The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals," said MAHLI Principal Investigator Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. "These data just arrived this morning. The science team is still assessing the observations. If something looked green, yellow, orange or red under the ultraviolet illumination, that'd be a more clear-cut indicator of fluorescence."
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory project is using Curiosity to investigate whether the study area within Gale Crater has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Provided by NASA
"Mars rover Curiosity uses arm camera at night." January 24th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-01-mars-rover-curiosity-arm-camera.html