Curiosity Rover Makes Successful Landing on Mars, First Photos Released

Posted on August 6, 2012

NASA's Curiosity rover has successfully landed on Mars in the Gale Crater. NASA broadcast the exciting landing live and was able to quickly confirm the landing with photographs. NASA says the time of day at the landing site is mid-afternoon -- about 3 p.m. local Mars time at Gale Crater. The landing time at JPL's mission control was about 10:31 p.m. Aug. 5 PDT. Here is a video of the celebration at JPL:

The landing announcement was tweeted by the Curiosity Rover, @MarsCuriosity:

The first image released from the rover was a tiny 64 x 64 pixel image as expected. You can see the tiny image here. A second slightly larger image released shows Curiosity's shadow on the ground in Mars' Gale crater and another shows one of Curiosity's wheels. These first images were taken through a "fisheye" wide-angle lens on one of the rover's Hazard-Avoidance cameras

Curiosity Rover Image Landing

Curiosity Rover Image Landing

It will be very interesting to see the higher resolution images Curiosity has to share in the days ahead. An article here on NASA explains when more pictures will start coming into JPL. The best images will be when the rover's Navcams and Mastcams begin taking one-megapixel and two-megapixel photographs. It will probably be at least a couple days before these images are available.

Photos: NASA