Curiosity snaps first panorama of Gale Crater
| by Anuradha Shetty |
Curiosity, the car-sized rover has sent across a cut-out of what is the first color panorama image of its surroundings, while in the Gale Crater. The image, which can be seen below, shows the effects of the descent stage's rocket engines blasting the ground. It comes from the left side of the thumbnail panorama obtained by Curiosity's Mast Camera. CNET also reports that Curiosity, which only recently landed on Mars has received a software upgrade from NASA. As per reports coming in, engineers at NASA are prepping to remove the existing entry, descent and landing software from Curiosity's central computer and instead, add the one for its surface operations. Curiosity has been sending a volley of images of its Mars trip. One of the images sent across is an image mosaic captured by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
A cut-out of NASA's panorama shot (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
Just a couple of days ago, Curiosity transmitted its first colour photo, along with a low-res video that showed the final 2 1/2 minutes of its dive through the Martian atmosphere. The image was a sneak peek of a spacecraft landing on another world. Reports stated that Curiosity took the shot "with a camera at the end of its robotic arm, which remained stowed." The landscape looked hazy, thanks to the dust covering the camera's removable cover during its descent to the ground. Amidst loud cheers and much excitement, NASA's Curiosity rover has made its perfect landing in the Gale Crater. Heralding the big moment, NASA's Curiosity started sending out the first thumbnail image upon touchdown.
The cameras on the Curiosity rover will enable it to capture never seen before images of the red planet. Elaborating on Curiosity's schedule, NASA adds that the first images from the rover will come from the one-megapixel Hazard-Avoidance cameras (Hazcams) that have been attached to its body. And, it is only once its engineers deem it to be safe to deploy the rover's Remote Sensing Mast and its high-tech cameras that Curiosity can begin its task.
It was a historic day for the world, and especially for NASA. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and Curiosity rover have made their touchdown on the Red Planet. Mars, the elusive planet has been piquing the curiosity of mankind for years now, and the possibility of life on Mars has been the topic of the most interest. Approximately 352 million miles (567 million kilometers) and 36 weeks after being launched from Earth, NASA's MSL spacecraft and Curiosity rover have finally managed to make a historic touchdown on Mars today.
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