Best Pics From Curiosity's Second Day on Mars

By Sophie Bushwick | August 7, 2012 6:45 pm

In the wee hours after midnight on Monday, the Mars Science Laboratory, known to its many admirers as “Curiosity,” touched down on Mars—and ever since, photos have been trickling in from the Red Planet.

Curiosity Mount Sharp

This image isn’t just a great shot of Curiosity’s shadow; it also shows us the rover’s goal: Mount Sharp, that great big mountain in the middle of Gale Crater. Curiosity will trundle up to the mountain and probe its strata to uncover the past and present Martian environment.

Curiosity color

Thanks to Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, we can also see Mars in full color. NASA has placed the Martian landscape image in context by inserting it into a simulated terrain obtained from cameras in orbit around the planet on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Express.

HiRISE landing site

And the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera also captured the rover’s descent and landing. During the rover’s crazy journey to the Martian surface, various components slowed the robot’s fall, then dropped away. This photo shows where all of those parts landed. Click to enlarge—and see where the heat shield wound up.

HiRISE Mt Sharp

HiRISE also took its own look at Mount Sharp from above. You can’t see the entire mound, but what is there is spectacular. To see a larger swath of the Martian landscape up close and personal, click away.

Images courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, HiRISE

  • CJSF

    “Trundle” being less than 0.1km per hour (or about 0.06 mph).

    To me “trundle” would seem to be at least a walking pace if not something more like a go-kart.

    /end picking nits


  • mario

    This is just absolutely great wish we can have more missions to mars and the solar system it is a human natural desire to explore. My hat is off the engineers and NASA for making this possible. Absolutely great and inspiriing.

  • Jockaira

    An ordinary walking pace would cover distance at 2 to 3 miles per hour on Earth, but on Mars, trundling is a more sedately graceful affair due to the reduced gravity. Walking at a brisk pace on Mars might require one to lean so far in the direction of travel that one could possibly find his nose in the sand…hence the Martian Trundle…a more leisurely stroll enabling one to take his time, view and photograph the scenery, vaporise an occasional rock for spectral analysis, and smell the canal roses.

  • Messier Tidy Upper

    Cheers! Another great collection of Curiosity‘s here.

  • Sophie Bushwick

    Messier Tidy Upper: We’ll be scouring the Internet for even more pics as they keep coming in!

  • http://None Valerie Clark Sanford

    Looking forward enthusiastically to viewing everything this new marvel craft “unearths”, pardon the expression :-) :-) :-). I am already a great fan of this fantastic project, can you tell?

  • steinmentz1

    There is a junkyard in orbit around earth, and we are leaving things everywere we go from the bottom of our oceans to far away worlds.
    “Kilroy was here”! There is a lost golfball on our moon that may be worth millions to the person who finds it. There is a glove, camera, and a bag of tools in orbit around earth. We have to do some house cleaning of our junk as the speed that these things (even the tinyest) travel can kill a space traveler. The wonderfull probes we send in all directions will someday become hazards to navigation. There have been many close-calls between the ISS and pieces of old boosters and dead satelites. I say that if something comes close enough to the ISS, it should be collected or sent burning Earthward.

  • steinmentz1

    Did I read somewere tha Sputnic is still out there? I’m sure the Russians would like to have it back.


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