It’s official! Curiosity is now safely on Mars!
Now what? When do we get so see the pics?
Soon. You’ve waited nearly nine months for Curiosity to get to Mars, it won’t kill you to wait a little while for Curiosity to get itself tested and configured by both ground controllers’ and Curiosity’s pre-programmed instructions for its mission.
Curiosity is equipped with a total of twelve cameras. Eight of them are for hazard avoidance and are referred to as a “HAZCAMs”. Each HAZCAM is a strictly low-resolution camera, and these will be the first cameras used to image Mars from Curiosity.
These first images from Curiosity won’t arrive until a couple of hours after landing, because the images have to be relayed to Earth by the Mars Odyssey spacecraft currently orbiting Mars. If I’m lucky, when I wake up Monday morning these images will be available online.
UPDATE! THUMBNAIL IMAGES FROM THE HAZCAMS HAVE BEGUN TO ARRIVE! THAT IS WAY FASTER THAN EXPECTED!
Sure, they’re only 64×64 pixels, but the point is… Curiosity is alive and working on Mars!
AND NOW WE GET 256X256 PIXEL IMAGES!
The first color images from Curiosity will be transmitted some time on Monday, but they’ll still be tiny – 192 x 144 pixels. These will be images taken by the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI), and they’ll show the landing site as viewed from Curiosity while it was descending towards the surface.
More color images are expected to be transmitted on August 7th from a camera located on the end of Curiosity’s multi-function arm.
The images we’re all anxious to see, the hi-res jaw-dropping panoramic images of the type we became accustomed to seeing from the rovers Spirit and Opportunity that landed in 2004, won’t come until Curiosity’s instrument mast is erected to its full height.
That probably won’t happen until roughly Curiosity’s third day on Mars.
Be patient. We’ll post new Curiosity info on this blog as soon as we get it.