The Curiosity rover is still running through its system checks before it gets started with the real business of exploring Mars but it is already sending back some amazing pictures. In the latest batch of data released to the public, the rover has sent not only an awesome pic showing the clarity of its high def cameras, but a message from NASA chief Charlie Bolden as well. If views like this are what we’re getting after just a couple of weeks on Mars, imagine what we will get in the years to come.
Above is the original, non-color corrected pic that was released by NASA this week. In the foreground you see a rock strewn field just 125 meters from the camera while the view stretches up to 16.2 kilometers on the top of Mount Sharp in the background. If you see this pic around the internet it might look a little sharper but that is because camera designer Mike Malin white balanced the image to bring out more of the geological features, and as he told Spaceflightnow.com, “because it looks pretty to me.” Frankly, when I see a picture of Mars, I want to see a red planet.
Here’s the color corrected, annotated version:
Along with the breathtaking pic, the team at NASA JPL also received a voice message from the rover. Unfortunately it wasn’t aliens singing “Rocket Man” but a pre-recorded message from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. It’s really just a congratulations message to the team at JPL and more of a PR stunt, but it’s still pretty neat to receive a recorded message from the surface of Mars. Here’s a video of the team at JPL listening to the message from Gen. Bolden.