NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover Sends First Colour Image Back to Earth

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PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Curiosity rover beamed back its first colour photo of Mars from the ancient crater where it landed Tuesday morning.

The tilted image (above) shows a pebbly landscape and the rim of Gale Crater off in the distance. Curiosity snapped the photo on its first day on the surface after touching down after a dramatic descent Sunday night.

“In the distance, the image shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater,” NASA said. on it’s Curiosity photo page.

The rover took the shot with a camera at the end of its robotic arm. The landscape looks fuzzy because the camera’s removable cover was coated with dust that kicked up during its descent.

“Images taken without the dust cover in place are expected during checkout of the robotic arm in coming weeks,” NASA said on it’s webpage.

The image is at such a strange angle because it was taken with the camera in the “stowed” position, which is 30 degrees tilted compared to the landscape. The camera will remain in the stowed position with its dustcap on for at least one more week as NASA engineers test all of Curiosity’s systems.

Since landing, Curiosity has sent back several black-and-white images of its surroundings, including a mountain view. It is expected to send back sharper pictures of its landing site.

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