Published On: Tue, Aug 7th, 2012

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover transmit first photo and video from the Red Planet

NASA’s Curiosity rover has beamed back its first color photo from the ancient crater where it landed on Mars and a video showing the last 2 1/2 minutes of its dive through the Martian atmosphere.

Mars Curiosity Rover photo/NASA

The picture released Tuesday revealed a rust-tinged, pebbly landscape and the crater rim off in the distance. The six-wheel rover snapped the photo on the first day on the surface after touching down on Mars Sunday night.

“We landed pretty much on this table right here,” said Curiosity mission systems manager Michael Watkins, patting his palm on a table at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “It’s a pretty good spot.”

Adam Steltzner, the lead mechanical engineer for entry, spent nearly a decade at JPL working on Curiosity. In a Times Google+ chat Monday, he described what it was like to see the rover on Mars.

“We could not even imagine in our wildest dreams it doing as well as it did,” he said.

As Curiosity plunged through the atmosphere, a video camera captured the final moments. Nearly 300 low-quality thumbnails were sent back on Monday, which NASA processed into a short video.

As the video rolled on a big screen, scientists and engineers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory let out “oohs” and “aahs.” The recording began with the protective heat shield falling away and ended with dust being kicked up as the rover was lowered by cables inside Gale Crater.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON


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