An unheralded anniversary
Yesterday, August 27th, 2012, was, in a sense, the 50th anniversary of interplanetary travel. Fifty years ago yesterday, Mariner 2 launched toward Venus, and became the first object to leave Earth and travel to another world.
If you've been obsessively checking the Curiosity raw images websites for new pictures from Mars, you might have noticed something weird: a bunch of Mastcam images and a few from MARDI that are black-and-white instead of color, and which have a peculiar checkerboard pattern.
The top of the mountain has finally been filled in, and Damien Bouic has produced what I think is the definitive version of Curiosity's first color panorama.
Notes from this morning's press conference. Curiosity has successfully steered the corner wheels and deployed and restowed the robotic arm. ChemCam tests went well over the weekend. But one of the two wind speed sensors in REMS appears to have suffered permanent damage during landing.
Damien Bouic took Curiosity's Hazcam images of Aeolis Mons / Mount Sharp and merged them with a beautiful 360-degree Navcam panorama to give us our first look at what the view will look like once the mission finally gets higher-resolution images that include the mountain's peak.
Some notes from this morning's Curiosity press briefing: the rover will be driving to "Glenelg" to investigate the "high thermal inertia unit." I explain what that means, with psychedelic Odyssey THEMIS images of the landing site.
Following the successful landing of the Curiosity rover, it is gratifying indeed to see the third MarsDial© photometric calibration (cal) target on the planet Mars. It is something near and dear to me personally, and it's good for all of us, because it helps us do good science.
I think my favorite features on Vesta are its streaky craters. Today's image release shows one of the streakiest: Aelia, a little crater on the flank of a larger one, near Vesta's equator.
Curiosity's third day on Mars has been completed flawlessly, and the first preliminary color view from her Mastcam is lovely.
A look at the latest raw data dump from Curiosity: our first sharp view of the rover and immediate surroundings, plus 18 of the full-resolution descent imager frames are now available. Check out the gravel on Curiosity's deck!!
Curiosity fired up her Navigational Cameras on Sol 2 and began to take a look around her. The first four full-resolution frames are enough for a small 3D panorama that shows a lovely landscape. I think we're going to like it here!
The thumbnail versions of the Mars Descent Imager images have shown up on the Curiosity raw images page, and hiding among them was a single full-resolution frame containing the heat shield.
Today's press briefing featured the first image from MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, so it's time for me to dive in to this camera's capabilities.
Even a preliminary, low-resolution, low-frame-rate version of Curiosity's descent imager animation of the arrival on Mars contains almost more awesome than I can stand.
In 2008, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped an amazing photo of Phoenix descending to the surface of Mars under its parachute. Now it's repeated the feat, with Curiosity.