Postcard from Mars: Curiosity sends back first color landscape

Sol 1 marks the first day of operations for NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. To usher in the start of its 98-week mission, Curiosity was kind enough to send along the first color photo of the Martian landscape around it since landing.

What you see pictured above (and larger, below) is the view to the north of Curiosity, taken by the craft's Mars Hand Lens Imager (or MAHLI). From NASA:

In the distance, the image shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater. The image is murky because the MAHLI's removable dust cover is apparently coated with dust blown onto the camera during the rover's terminal descent. Images taken without the dust cover in place are expected during checkout of the robotic arm in coming weeks.

The MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. At the time the MAHLI Sol 1 image was acquired, the robotic arm was in its stowed position. It has been stowed since the rover was packaged for its Nov. 26, 2011, launch.

See it larger here:

(Click to enlarge.)


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

Sadly, Curiosity didn't have time to scrawl a message on the back. It's a busy 'bot, people!

NASA, via Space Industry News

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