Mars Orbiting Paparazzi Spies Curiosity’s Domain
Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Well, Mars rover Curiosity must feel the eyes on Earth on it right now.
Curiosity touched down inside Mars’ Gale Crater on the night of Aug 5/6 via a complex series of entry, descent and landing (EDL) stages, culminating in the awesome powered landing via the Sky Crane maneuver. Now the dust has settled, other missions at Mars can survey Curiosity’s landing zone.
Orbiting at this vantage point high above the Martian surface, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been doing a spectacular job of watching over Curiosity’s landing zone and surrounding landscape with its High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. As can be seen in this beautifully detailed HiRISE view, Curiosity’s blocky frame surrounded by a blue hue can be easily seen. The rover’s ultimate goal, Mt. Sharp, is located out of frame to the southeast. North is up in this image.
The HiRISE team has enhanced the colors of this shot so the details can easily be made out. In reality, the blue hues are more gray in appearance. The blue surrounding the rover highlights the descent stage rocket blast pattern, where the overlaying dust on the Martian surface was blown away, exposing the rocky sub-layers.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UofA