The rover Curiosity and other NASA spacecraft at Mars are now in a radio blackout, as the sun is interfering with transmissions. Curiosity took this self-portrait by combining 66 exposures in February.
Communications between the Earth and Mars are on hiatus for several weeks, thanks to interference from the sun. That means NASA's orbiters and rovers that study Mars will be left to their own devices until radio signals can once again travel between the two planets.
Known as "solar conjunction," the problem arises when the orbit of planets places the sun directly between them.
Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 4:50 pm
This image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill.
The group of scientists working with NASA's Curiosity rover made a big announcement during a press conference today: "We have found a habitable environment that is so benign" if there was water there, "you be able to drink it," John P. Grotzinger, professor of geology at Caltech, said summing up the rover's latest findings.
That is, at one point Mars had the right conditions to support living microbes.
This rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail.
The Mars Curiosity Rover has beamed back its first nighttime pictures. It sent one taken while using its white LED lights and another using its ultraviolet LED lights.
It's a milestone and the pictures are pretty cool. But they don't tell us much of anything yet.