The Best Photos of Mars Since Curiosity’s Landing

Collected images.
Aug. 16 2012 6:53 PM

The Best Photos of Mars Since Curiosity’s Landing

A look at the barren landscape where water once flowed.

It’s now been over a week since NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity landed on Mars, after successfully surviving the notorious final “seven minutes of terror.” Curiosity has been busy at work since, taking measurements, sending back data, and capturing all kinds of images on its various cameras. In case you haven’t been carefully paying attention as the photos make their way to Earth bit by bit, these are the most interesting images among the hundreds that have emerged so far.

Curiosity_01

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems.

A close-up of one of the rover’s wheels. Curiosity is currently at Gale Crater, a place NASA scientists believe could harbor signs of microbial life, from the past or present.

Curiosity_02

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

What are those blue rocks doing on the Red Planet? The rocks would not look blue on Mars, but if they were brought back to Earth, they would. The photo is “white balanced,” or adjusted to replicate how a similar situation would look on Earth (less red dust, mainly). Geologists find these useful because they use color (as seen on Earth) to assess different properties of rocks.

Curiosity_03

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This screenshot comes from an interactive panorama put together by photographer Andrew Bodrov at the panorama photography website 360Cities.net using images from NASA. Bodrov retouched the images and added the sun in the sky, using an image captured by NASA Mars rover Spirit in 2005 as a guide.

Curiosity_04

Andrew Bodrov/360Cities.net/NASA/JPL/Caltech.

This image shows the inside surface of Curiosity's heat shield, layers of protective insulation measuring 15 feet in diameter, that guard the rover from the intense heat generated by entry into the Martian atmosphere. The photo was obtained about three seconds after the heat shield separated and about two minutes before touchdown.

Curiosity_06

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.


The Mars Descent Imager (MARDI), a camera on board the Curiosity designed to take photos during the descent to Mars, took this image of the heat shield plummeting to the Martian surface. You can watch a video of it here.

Curiosity_05

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

Curiosity captured this image of the wall of Gale Crater, north of where the rover first landed. This is the first close look at a fluvial system, relating to a river or stream, from the surface of Mars. Close by is a network of valleys dating from a period in Martian history, millions or even billions of years ago, when water flowed abundantly on its surface.

Curiosity_07

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

Mount Sharp can be seen at top right, about 1,000 feet away. The Curiosity team hopes to drive the rover to the 3.4-mile-high mountain to investigate its lower layers, which scientists think hold clues to the planet’s drastic and mysterious past climate changes.

Curiosity_08

NASA/JPL-Caltech.

This color-enhanced view taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as the satellite flew overhead shows the terrain around the rover's landing site within Gale Crater. Colors were enhanced to bring out subtle differences, showing that the landing region is not as varied as regions closer to Mount Sharp, further south. The blue colors in the lower portion of the picture are dark dune fields.

Curiosity_09

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

.

TODAY IN SLATE

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?

The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off

This Was the First Object Ever Designed

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

Moneybox

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.

Music

A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …

The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.

Is Everyone Going to Declare Independence if Scotland Does It? 

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Trending News Channel
Sept. 12 2014 11:26 AM Identical Twins Aren’t Really Identical
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Music
Sept. 14 2014 11:44 PM A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now … The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?