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Subject:Latest Curiosity images of Mars (5 Photos)




This image taken by NASA's Curiosity shows what lies ahead for the rover -- its main science target, informally called Mount Sharp Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. The rover's shadow can be seen in the foreground, and the dark bands beyond are dunes. Rising up in the distance is the highest peak of Mount Sharp at a height of about 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers), taller than Mt. Whitney in California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Since parking itself inside an ancient crater Sunday night, the Curiosity rover has delighted scientists with views of its new surroundings, including the 3-mile-high mountain it will drive to. It beamed back the first color picture Tuesday revealing a tan-hued, pebbly landscape and the crater rim off in the distance.







Curiosity's journey to Mars spanned eight months and 352 million miles. The rover gently touched down Sunday night after executing an elaborate and untested landing routine. The size of a compact car, it was too heavy to land using air bags. Instead, it relied on a heat shield, parachute, rockets and cables to lower it to the ground.

During its seven-minute plunge through the atmosphere, Curiosity shed the spacecraft parts. On Tuesday, scientists got their first view of the castoffs. The eagle-eyed Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had circled over the landing site and spotted Curiosity and the scattered parts.









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