I'm so excited I might burst. The first images from Curiosity's cameras rained down to Earth in the middle of last night, after a 14 minute journey from the red planet. Here they are, in all their glory. Larger, color images will be available next week. Let the imagination soar!!
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Captures Curiosity's Parachute just before landing on the surface of Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech
This was the first image to return from Mars' Curiosity: A view out the back. You can see the camera still has its dust cover over the lens (secured in place with three knobs at 2, 4, and 9 o'clock). Those clever engineers... they think of everything. NASA/JPL-Caltech Aug. 6th, 2012
The rover's images are taken with a fisheye lens to maximize the amount of information they can obtain. But the resulting images are warped, so to help us get a more intuitive look at Mars' surface, engineers linearized the previous image to come up with this. Keep in mind these are still the first, low-resolution images to return to Earth. We'll be getting better high resolution images later in the week. NASA/JPL-Caltech
Curiosity captures its own shadow. NASA/JPL-Caltech Aug. 5th, 2012
And in case you missed the live feed of the Mars team as Curiosity landed and sent back the first images depicted here, Joanne Manaster posted a video of it over at PsiVid.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Kalliopi Monoyios is an independent science illustrator. She has illustrated several popular science books including Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within, and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Find her at www.kalliopimonoyios.com.