Curiosity Sends Back First Color Image
August 7, 2012

Curiosity Reveals Gale Crater In Color

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Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

NASA's Curiosity rover has sent back the first color image of the Martian landscape, taken on the afternoon of the first day after landing.

The color image was photographed by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on August 6.

In the image, the Red Planet shows its worthy of the name, but you can easily see the north wall and rim of Gale Crater.

NASA said the image is murky because the MAHLI's removable dust cover is coated with dust blown onto the camera during the rover's terminal descent.

Images taken by MAHLI without the dust cover in place are expected to start showing up in the coming weeks.

MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. The camera's dust cover, which is transparent, will not be opened until more than a week after the landing.

The image taken is crooked, because the camera is still in a stowed position, along with Curiosity's robotic arm. MAHLI's position is rotated 30 degrees relative to the rover deck, so NASA has tilted the image for viewing so you wouldn't have too.

The main purpose of MAHLI on Curiosity is to acquire close-up, high-resolution views of rocks and soil at the rover's Gale Crater field site, NASA said.

The camera is capable of focusing on any target at distances of about 0.8 inches to infinity.