mardi 14 août 2012

Curiosity Upgraded, Checking Out Instruments & New images














NASA - Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) patch / NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) patch.

August 14, 2012

Curiosity has done the "brain transplant" needed to optimize it for surface operations, and is checking the instruments it will use to explore Mars.

The mission team is also looking down from orbit at Curiosity's new home in Gale Crater, seen in the updated landing graphic at left, with the green dot showing the rover's landing spot.

New images from the Curiosity rover mission have been released as part of a NASA teleconference that took place on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, to provide a status update on the mission to Mars’ Gale Crater.

A Whole New World for Curiosity

This color-enhanced view -- taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as the satellite flew overhead -- shows the terrain around the rover's landing site within Gale Crater on Mars. Colors were enhanced to bring out subtle differences, showing that the landing region is not as colorful as regions to the south, closer to Mount Sharp, where Curiosity will eventually explore. In reality, the blue colors are more gray.

The rover itself is seen as the circular object, with the blast pattern from its descent stage seen as relatively blue colors. The dark dune fields lying between the rover and Mount Sharp can be seen in the lower portion of the picture. Mount Sharp is out of view, below the image frame. The rover is about 980 feet (300 meters) from the bottom of the picture.

This image was acquired six days after Curiosity landed at an angle of 30 degrees from straight down, looking west. Another image looking more directly down will be acquired in five days, completing a stereo pair along with this image. The scale of this image cutout is about 24 inches (62 centimeter) per pixel.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

Curiosity in Exaggerated Color

This color-enhanced view of NASA's Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as the satellite flew overhead. Colors have been enhanced to show the subtle color variations near the rover, which result from different types of materials.

The descent stage blast pattern around the rover is clearly seen as relatively blue colors (true colors would be more gray). Curiosity landed within Gale Crater, a portion of which is pictured here. The mountain at the center of the crater, called Mount Sharp, is located out of frame to the southeast. North is up.

This image was acquired at an angle of 30 degrees from straight down, looking west. Another image looking more directly down will be acquired in five days, completing a stereo pair along with this image. The scale of this image cutout is about 12 inches (31 centimeters) per pixel.

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Image credit: NASNASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

Curiosity Cradled by Gale Crater (click on the image for enlarge)

NASA's Curiosity rover landed in the Martian crater known as Gale Crater, which is approximately the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. A green dot shows where the rover landed, well within its targeted landing ellipse, outlined in blue.

This oblique view of Gale, and Mount Sharp in the center, is derived from a combination of elevation and imaging data from three Mars orbiters. The view is looking toward the southeast. Mount Sharp rises about 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) above the floor of Gale Crater.

The image combines elevation data from the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, image data from the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and color information from Viking Orbiter imagery. There is no vertical exaggeration in the image. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS.

Crisp View from Inside Gale Crater (click on the image for enlarge)

This 360-degree, full-resolution panorama from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the area all around the rover within Gale Crater on Mars. The rover's deck is to the left and far right. The rover's "head" or mast, where the Navigation cameras that took this picture are located, casts a shadow seen near the center. The rim of Gale Crater is to the left, and the base of Mount Sharp is to the center-right. The summit of Mount Sharp will be imaged at a later time.

Curiosity will drive to the knolls of layered rock at the lower slopes of Mount Sharp to investigate their history and geology in detail. That destination is to the south-southwest, beyond the dark sand dunes. In the annotated version of this image, degrees are listed at the very top. North is at zero degrees, to the left, and the south-southwest is to the middle-right at 193 degrees. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Destination Mount Sharp

This image from NASA's Curiosity rover looks south of the rover's landing site on Mars towards Mount Sharp. This is part of a larger,high-resolution color mosaic made from images obtained by Curiosity's Mast Camera.

In this version of the image, colors have been modified as if the scene were transported to Earth and illuminated by terrestrial sunlight. This processing, called "white balancing," is useful for scientists to be able to recognize and distinguish rocks by color in more familiar lighting.

The image provides an overview of the eventual geological targets Curiosity will explore over the next two years, starting with the rock-strewn, gravelly surface close by, and extending towards the dark dunefield. Beyond that lie the layered buttes and mesas of the sedimentary rock of Mount Sharp.

The images in this mosaic were acquired by the 34-millimeter Mastcam over about an hour of time on Aug. 8, 2012 PDT (Aug. 9, 2012 EDT), each at 1,200 by 1,200 pixels in size. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/mars and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

Images (mentioned), Text, Credit: NASA.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

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