This is the first image taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT. It was taken through a "fisheye" wide-angle lens on one of the rover's front left Hazard-Avoidance cameras at one-quarter of full resolution. © NASA/JPL-Caltech.
"Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars -- or if the planet can sustain life in the future," says Nasa administrator Charles Bolden in a statement.
Curiosity landed at 6.32am (London Time) this morning, and beamed back its first black-and-white image from the surface. The low-resolution imageshows Curiosity cast a shadow of the surface of Mars.
"As planned," says Nasa, "the rover's early engineering images are lower resolution. Larger color images are expected later in the week when the rover's mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed."
The rover is fitted with four different cameras dubbed Mardi, Mastcam (2x) and Mahli. Mardi, which stands for Mars Descent Imager, filmed in colour the rover's descent to the red planet. The Mast Camera, which is composed of two camera systems - the Mastcam 100 and Mastcam 34, will both take high-resolution images and video of Mars' surface. The Mars Hand Lens Imager, or Mahli, will be used to take images of objects as small as 12.5 micrometers.
Curiosity's mission on Mars is expected to last two years. For more details, visit www.nasa.org.
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