Amazing pictures from the mars rover curiosity exploring new land first colored pictures - YouTube

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Amazing pictures from the mars rover curiosity exploring new land first colored pictures

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Published on Aug 11, 2012

First colored pictures and panoramic views of mars sent from the mars rover.

PASADENA, Calif.—NASA's Curiosity rover began transmitting photos to Earth even before the red dust from its flawless landing on Mars had cleared Monday, a warm-up for its two-year trek across a rugged crater that could reveal whether the planet ever was hospitable to life. Cheers erupted in the control room of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managing the $2.5 billion mission. Elated that the rover's daring and never-tested landing technique had worked, ebullient engineers and scientists pumped their fists in the air and whooped. Several wept. Next year, NASA plans to launch a probe to study the upper atmosphere of Mars, but planners this month are debating what future Mars landings—if any—the space agency can afford. Earlier this year, NASA pulled out of an ambitious, joint U.S.-European effort to land a next-generation rover on Mars and eventually return some samples to Earth. While Curiosity's landing is bound to burnish NASA's image and improve its employee morale, the mission may provide only a temporary political boost for an agency that has struggled to chart a new course amid spending constraints, persistent legislative fights and last year's retirement of the space shuttle fleet. Flying on automatic pilot, the one-ton Curiosity—the largest and most complex mobile laboratory ever landed on another planet—touched down perfectly at about 1:32 a.m. Eastern time Monday. Its first grainy, wide-angle images showed its own left rear wheel parked on the surface of Gale Crater near the equator of Mars, close to the foot of a three-mile-high mountain it aims to explore in months to come

Mars rover Curiosity has taken a break from instrument checks to beam back a stunning 360-degree view of its location on the Red Planet.

The panorama image was patched together with 130 separate photographs taken with newly-activated navigation cameras.

It shows a rust-coloured, pebble-strewn expanse stretching to a wall of the Gale Crater's rim in one direction and a tall mound of layered rock in another.

That formation, named Mount Sharp, stands at the centre of the vast impact crater and several miles from where Curiosity touched down earlier this week.

The layers of exposed rock there could reveal whether the Red Planet might once have supported life.

But the six-wheeled Curiosity, which is the size of a small car, will be put through weeks of "health checks" by Nasa scientists based at mission control in Florida before it can get to work analysing samples.

The $2.5bn (£1.6bn) Curiosity project, formally named the Mars Science Laboratory, is Nasa's first astrobiology mission since the Viking probes of the 1970s and is touted as the first fully-equipped mobile lab ever sent to a distant world.

The mission, which saw it travel across hundreds of millions of miles of space, has been hailed an "unprecedented" technological feat.

However, back on Earth, Nasa is licking its wounds after a rocket-powered test craft crashed and burned at Kennedy Space Centre.

The spider-like $7m spacecraft called Morpheus - designed as a potential vehicle for landing small probes on planets or asteroids - had just risen to the air on a test flight when it tilted, fell and burst into flames.

Nobody was hurt in the accident on Thursday but Nasa said the craft was beyond repair.

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