NASA Releases First Photos Of Mars Landing
Curiosity touched down at 10:32 p.m. PDT on Sunday following an eight-month, 352-milion journey. Minutes after landing, the one-ton rover beamed back photos of Mars’ surface using its “fisheye” Hazard Avoidance Cameras, according to NASA.
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"Curiosity's landing site is beginning to come into focus," said John Grotzinger, project manager of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "In the image, we are looking to the northwest. What you see on the horizon is the rim of Gale Crater. In the foreground, you can see a gravel field. The question is, where does this gravel come from? It is the first of what will be many scientific questions to come from our new home on Mars."
The grainy, black-and-white images showed Martian gravel and a mountain at sunset, according to the Associated Press. A high-resolution camera on the orbiting Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a photo of the rover dangling from a parachute just minutes before touching down on Mars.
"We have ended one phase of the mission much to our enjoyment," mission manager Mike Watkins said. "But another part has just begun."
The rover will begin its search from Gale Crater to discover Mars’ past or present ability to sustain life.