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Curiosity Rover's Mars Landing

09 August 2012 / All photos: ANP/NASA/JPL-Caltech /

The MSL Rover named Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. Curiosity succesfully landed safely on the surface of Mars on Monday August 6, 2012. The Curiosity robot is equipped with a nuclear-powered lab capable of vaporizing rocks and ingesting soil, measuring habitability, and potentially paving the way for human exploration. Curiosity has sent numerous images from Mars surface and a video of its landing so far. All of the rover's antennas are in working order, allowing it to send back data successfully, the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.

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Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission director Jennifer Trosper speaks at a press conference at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on August 6, 2012.

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Engineers monitor the progress of the Mars Curiosity mission at the Space Operations Center and Mission Control Area in NASA's Mars Science Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, USA, 02 August 2012.

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A general view shows a 70 metre dish (L) and 34metre dish (R) that are tracking NASA's Mars science laboratory car-sized rover Curiosity at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Station at Tidbinbilla in Canberra on August 6th, 2012.

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This NASA image obtained August 8, 2012 shows a color full-resolution image showing the heat shield of NASA's Curiosity rover was obtained during descent to the surface of Mars on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The image was obtained by the Mars Descent Imager instrument known as MARDI and shows the 15-foot (4.5-meter) diameter heat shield when it was about 50 feet (16 meters) from the spacecraft.This image shows the inside surface of the heat shield, with its protective multi-layered insulation. The bright patches are calibration targets for MARDI. Also seen in this image is the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrument (MEDLI) hardware attached to the inside surface. At this range, the image has a spatial scale of 0.4 inches (1 cm) per pixel. It is the 36th MARDI image, obtained about three seconds after heat shield separation and about two and one-half minutes before touchdown. The original image from MARDI has been geometrically corrected to look flat

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MSL Project Scientist John Grotzinger inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California

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This August 6, 2012 handout image provided by NASA shows Curiosity rover and its parachute, spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on August 5, PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image of Curiosity while the orbiter was listening to transmissions from the rover. Curiosity and its parachute are in the center of the white box; the inset image is a cutout of the rover stretched to avoid saturation. The rover is descending toward the etched plains just north of the sand dunes that fringe "Mt. Sharp." From the perspective of the orbiter, the parachute and Curiosity are flying at an angle relative to the surface, so the landing site does not appear directly below the rover.

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Peter Ilott (C) and his colleagues celebrate a successful landing inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California

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Activity lead Bobak Ferdowsi, who cuts his hair differently for each mission, work inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena

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handout image provided by NASA on 09 August 2012 shows the first image taken by the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover. It shows the shadow of the rover's now-upright mast in the center, and the arm's shadow at left. The arm itself can be seen in the foreground.

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This NASA image obtained August 8, 2012 shows the Martian landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover as it puts a color view obtained by the rover in the context of a computer simulation derived from images acquired from orbiting spacecraft. The view looks north, showing a distant ridge that is the north wall and rim of Gale Crater. The color image was obtained by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on August 6 PDT (August 7 UTC), the first Martian day after Curiosity's landing on August 5 PDT (August 6 UTC). It has been rendered about 10 percent transparent so that scientists can see how it matches the simulated terrain in the background. The MAHLI image was taken while the camera's transparent dust cover was still on. Curiosity's descent coated the cover with a thin film of dust.The computer simulation is a digital elevation model that incorporates data from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA's Mars Express.

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A handout photograph released by NASA on 07 August 2012 and taken by The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 06 August 2012 shows NASA's Curiosity rover in the center of the image. To the right, approximately 4,900 feet away, lies the heat shield, which protected the rover from 3,800-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures encountered during its fiery descent. On the lower left, about 2,020 feet away, are the parachute and back shell. The parachute has a constructed diameter of 71 feet and an inflated diameter of 51 feet. The back shell remains connected to the chute via 80, 165-foot-long suspension lines. To the upper-left, approximately 2,100 feet away from the rover, is a discoloration of the Mars surface consistent with what would have resulted when the rocket-powered Sky Crane impacted the surface

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This NASA image obtained August 8, 2012 shows an image comparison showing a view through a Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover before and after the clear dust cover was removed. Both images were taken by a camera at the front of the rover. Mount Sharp, the mission's ultimate destination, looms ahead. The view on the left, with the dust cover on, is one quarter of full resolution, while the view on the right is full resolution. Full-resolution images taken with the dust cover still on are not available at this time. The only other instrument on Curiosity with a dust cover is the Mars Hand Lens Imager (or MAHLI), located on the rover's arm. In this case, the dust cover is not removed but will be opened when needed. This way, the instrument is protected from dust that may be generated from other tools on the rover's arm, in addition to wind-blown dust

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This NASA image obtained August 8, 2012 shows a Picasso-like self portrait of NASA's Curiosity rover taken by its Navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover, while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead. Those images are shown here in a polar projection. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. Two of the tiles are full-resolution

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This image released by NASA August 7, 2012 shows a full-resolution version of one of the first images taken by a rear Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of August 5 PDT (August 6 EDT). The image was originally taken through the "fisheye" wide-angle lens, but has been "linearized" so that the horizon looks flat rather than curved.

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2 (2012-08-08 07:18:41 UTC). 'Sol' is what they call a say on mars (to distinguish it from the 24-hour day on Earth). 'Sol 2' is the second Martian day since landing, 'Sol 3' the third.

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This image released by NASA August 7, 2012 shows shows one of the first views from NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of August 5 PDT (August 6 EDT). The image shows what lies ahead for the rover -- its main science target, Mount Sharp. The rover's shadow can be seen in the foreground, and the dark bands beyond are dunes. Rising up in the distance is the highest peak Mount Sharp at a height of about 3.4 miles(5.4km), taller than Mt. Whitney in California.

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2 (2012-08-08 07:18:41 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2 (2012-08-08 07:11:08 UTC) .

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2

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This NASA image obtained August 8, 2012 shows a portion of the first 360-degree panoramic view from NASA's Curiosity rover, taken with the Navigation cameras. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. These are two of the tiles from near the center at full-resolution. Mount Sharp is to the right, and the north Gale Crater rim can be seen at center. The rover's body is in the foreground, with the shadow of its head, or mast, poking up to the right.


1st Color Panorama of Gale Crater landing site