NASA has released the first high-resolution, colour images taken by the Mars rover, Curiosity.
Curiosity, three weeks into a two-year prime mission on Mars, sent home an image of the red planet showing details of Mount Sharp, where scientists plan to search for the chemical ingredients of life on Mars.
The telephoto images beamed back to Earth were taken by the 100-millimeter telephoto lens and the 34-milllimeter wide angle lens of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Curiosity.
“This is an area on Mount Sharp where Curiosity will go,” Mastcam principal investigator Michael Malin, of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego said in a NASA release.
“Those layers are our ultimate objective. The dark dune field is between us and those layers. In front of the dark sand you see redder sand, with a different composition suggested by its different color. The rocks in the foreground show diversity — some rounded, some angular, with different histories. This is a very rich geological site to look at and eventually to drive through.”
Curiosity will use 10 science instruments to assess whether the selected study area ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.