Before Curiosity sets off across the Martian landscape, it needs a chance to catch its (metaphorical) breath. As the rover performs health checks on its systems to ensure that everything is working properly, the robot’s cameras are also checking out its surroundings. This panoramic view, showing Gale Crater and its rim, is a combination of two images taken by the navigation cameras on Curiosity’s mast. Click on it to see the Martian surface in full-resolution glory.
The other lovely photo released today was snapped by the rover’s Mars Descent Imager camera as the craft plummeted towards Mars three days ago. Three seconds after the shield flew off during the rover’s descent, the Mars Descent Imager camera snagged this incredibly detailed photo of the shield’s interior, only 50 feet away. Below, you can see the shield’s insulation, the bright circles that helped the rover calibrate its descent camera, and other landing hardware. Click through for a closer look.
As Curiosity continues to scan its surroundings, we can expect more glorious Mars photos—stay tuned.
Images courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech and NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS