NASA’s Curiosity rover, the largest rover ever dispatched from Earth, is a little over halfway to its landing on Mars. With a scheduled landing on August 6 of this year, NASA engineers thought it was a good time to fire up Curiosity’s onboard camera. This is what they saw.
Don’t get too excited: The yellow thing in the foreground are cables attached to the rover and the silver thing is a bracket holding the cables in place. The two green lights off to the right are reflections of the LEDs that are part of the camera rig. The whole thing is blurry not because of a camera malfunction, but because the focusing motors have been kept in a kind of “safe mode” to prevent damage during the trip to the Martian surface.
Instead of a shot of deep space, this is just the view from inside the aeroshell which is protecting Curiosity during the journey to Mars. Flight engineers have fired up curiosity’s cameras before, but the pictures were in complete darkness, and only confirmed that the camera was operational.
While it’s exciting to receive dispatches from the rover prior to landing, it’s only whet my appetite for this mission to really kickoff on the surface of Mars. Hopefully the next time we see pictures from Curiosity, it’ll be a little less blurry and more otherworldly.
- Curiosity blasts off on its way to Mars
- The rover will look for signs of microbial life, which we may have already found
- In fact, quite a lot of Mars might support life