“Curiosity” sends first color photo of mars

"This is the first color photo of the area where we landed," said ken edgett, whose company designed cameras for the mars mission, at a press conference held by the u.S. Space agency nasa on tuesday in pasadena, california. "It is really very exciting."The quality of the recording is not optimal, because the camera is still covered by a transparent protective cover.

Curiosity" had already sent numerous black-and-white photos and parts of a video of the landing approach. Nasa experts put together a film from the sequences, the quality of which is, however, still quite low. In a few days you can expect a video in higher quality. On the photos in partly high resolution can be seen a mountain several kilometers away, to which "curiosity" should roll within the next year. The mountain is more than 5000 meters high.

Moreover, the pictures show the mars ground at the landing site. "We realize it’s very flat there and there are a lot of little pebbles lying around," said nasa scientist joy crisp. "Neither in front of nor behind the rover we see any obstacles that could pose a problem during the ride"."

In the meantime, the rover has extended an antenna to facilitate communication with the earth. But it is not yet pointing in exactly the right direction, said nasa manager mike watkins. "We now have to correct this."Overall, the rover remains in good shape after another "busy day". Curiosity" will only be able to start its first research work in more than a week’s time. It may take up to a month before the rover takes soil samples with a drill. According to nasa, it will also start rolling in a few weeks at the earliest.

The time of day when "curiosity" can take photos of the surroundings shifts from day to day in comparison to the earth. Since mars rotates a little slower around its own axis than our home planet, a martian day lasts more than half an hour longer than an earth day. All in all, our neighboring planet needs about 24 hours and 37 minutes to make one revolution. "Curiosity" landed on mars on monday after a flight of more than eight months. It is the most expensive and technically sophisticated mission ever to explore the red planet.

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