Curiosity: putting a hand on Mars

Curiosity’s “fingers”: the five instruments on the rover’s turret (or “hand”)

The View From Space

At the same time as Curiosity has been “on the road”, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been returning some remarkable images captured from orbit using its super-sensitive HiRISE imaging system.

The first of these is shown one page 1 of this article and was captured on Sol 26. It’s a poignant image of Curiosity’s lonely journey across Gale Crater.

In another image, the MSL’s supersonic parachute can be seen with the backshell  which covered the rover during its initial descent through the Martian atmosphere still attached. In another poignant image, the crash site for the Descent Stage / “skycrane” element of the mission can be seen, scour marks showing where it impacted with the surface of Mars and where debris was thrown.

Final resting place: the Descent Stage crash site captured by the MRO’s HiRISE

Over the coming days the arm will continue to be calibrated and tested, MAHLI will be checked out and used to image the various joints and elements in the arm to ensure they are all functioning correctly. It will also probably be used to take a number of “self-portrait” images of the front of the rover, which will give us a unique perspective on what a rover looks like close-up on Mars.

Curiosity’s progress and initial goal. The numbers marking Curiosity’s drive refer to its position at the end of a particular Sol

Mission Trivia

The MAHLI camera on Curiosity’s turret is capable of imaging objects as small as a grain of talcum powder.

Curiosity reports in this blog

All images courtesy of NASA / JPL.