Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NASA's latest Mars adventure provides spectacular glimpses of alien landscape

NASA's latest adventure to Mars has given the world more than just glimpses of a new alien landscape.

This photo provided by NASA shows a full-resolution version of one of the first images taken by a rear Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the Sunday evening, Aug. 5, 2012. The image was originally taken through a "fisheye" wide-angle lens, but has been "linearized" so that the horizon looks flat rather than curved. A Hazard-avoidance camera on the rear-left side of Curiosity obtained this image. Part of the rim of Gale Crater, which is a feature the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, stretches from the top middle to the top right of the image. One of the rover's wheels can be seen at bottom right. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

It opened a window into the trip itself, from video footage of the landing to a photo of the rover hanging by a parachute to a shot of discarded spacecraft hardware strewn across the surface. And the best views — of Mars and the journey there — are yet to come.

"Spectacular," mission deputy project scientist Joy Crisp said of the footage. "We've not had that before."

Since parking itself inside an ancient crater Sunday night, the Curiosity rover has delighted scientists with views of its new surroundings, including the 3-mile(4.8-kilometer)-high mountain it will drive to. It beamed back the first color picture Tuesday revealing a tan-hued, pebbly landscape and the crater rim off in the distance.

Read details: Phil Star


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