The race is on. After sending back a few grainy landscape photos, it's time for Curiosity to deliver Mars's close-ups. NASA's received new high-resolution photos taken from the rover's 34 and 100-millimeter Mast cams and as predicted, Mars's surface has a diverse range of geological layering that could help scientists learn if the planet harbors any form of life or not.
On August 28 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, musician will.i.am will do something no artist has ever done before: blast a song from Mars' surface through the Curiosity rover. Why? Because he can (and runs a charity).
Okay, so the Curiosity rover landed on Mars is going to start doing science pretty soon. Or whatever. At this point, it's old news, and NASA has already moved on to its next mission to Mars, a lander called InSight.
Missed the Curiosity landing the first time around because you were busy watching the Olympics or something? That's okay because Spaceflight101 cobbled together this high def video of Curiosity's descent from some high-res images and, man, is it quite a sight.
Ever since the Curiosity Mars rover landed on the red planet, we've been waiting for it to do something really cool. Sure it's been up there snapping away with its cameras like a tourist, but now it has unleashed its mighty ChemCam laser, and started shooting a nearby rock.
Since Curiosity landed on Mars, the rover's been busy beaming back photos for us earthlings to salivate over. One fan took the high-res photos that Curiosity shot from its second day on Mars and stitched them into a 360-degree interactive panorama. This is probably the closest you'll ever get to visiting Mars — for now, anyway.
To put all the megapixel nuts in their place, NASA's released this high-resolution color mosaic of Mars stitched together from 79 photos. We can't remember the last time we were so enchanted by rocky mesas.
Did you look at the "high-res" photo of Mars that Curiosity shot and wonder how many gigahertz and megapixels it took to get that photo? We advise you to sit down, because the 2,000-pound rover's guts are pretty weak compared to today's powerful smartphones and tablets.
Ever since its dramatic, flawless landing on Mars, Curiosity has been busy, well, being a bit of an interplanetary tourist. And who wouldn't go a little camera crazy on the surface of Mars? Here's one of the latest images from the rover: the crispest image yet of the terrain around it.
Elon Musk, who helped launch PayPal, Tesla Motors and most recently SpaceX, is pretty dang serious about getting our asses to Mars. Before Curiosity, colonies on Mars were knocked back to the 2030s — or beyond, even. Now? We may only have to wait "12 to 15 years."