Curiosity’s High-Res Photos Make You Feel Like You’re on Mars
Enough of these dusty and low-quality Mars images. Here’s the first high-resolution image from the Curiosity rover’s Navigation Cameras (NavCams), showing a flat Martian landscape with the looming rim of Gale crater in the distance.
Earlier today on Mars, the rover lifted its “head” — a seven-foot-tall mast with its powerful MastCams and laser-shooting ChemCam on top. This structure also contains the NavCams, which are used mainly to plan Curiosity’s drives over the Martian soil. These cameras are capable of shooting 1-megapixel photos of the surface.
Looking closely, you can spot several scour marks burned into the Martian surface by the rockets that helped Curiosity land. Scientists are excited to explore these areas since they give a small glimpse of the subsurface.
“We’ve already got an exploration hole drilled for us,” said geologist John Grotzinger, project scientist for the mission, during a press conference on Aug. 8.
Another interesting shot is the low-resolution panoramic image (below), showing the environment all around the rover. It is made up of the thumbnails that the rover’s NavCams have beamed back, with the higher resolution versions still to come in the next few days.
NASA engineers used the NavCams to take a 360-degree self-portrait of the rover as well (below), showing its backside and wheels. Most of the pictures stitched together to make this image are low-resolution thumbnails but two are full-resolution.