“Curiosity” Lands on Mars, First Photo(s)

08.06.12 Bucky Turco

NASA did it. After executing some of the most complicated maneuvers ever devised to ensure a soft touchdown, the space agency managed to land a rover about the size of a Mini Cooper on Mars. Curiosity, as it has affectionately been named, is already beaming back photos using its one-megapixel Hazcam cameras. The first was a 64×64 pixel image of the rover’s shadow showing it was safely on the Martian surface followed by a 256×256 pixel version (pictured above), prompting nerds in Mission Control to excitedly shout, “We have thumbnails.” Engineers cannot deploy the rover’s higher res cameras for several days, but you can see the rest of low res snaps as they come in here. UPDATE: Curiosity sent a 512×512 pixel image of its wheel.

(Photos: NASA/JPL)