After shooting black-and-white landscape photos for a day, everyone’s favorite Martian robot photographer is now dabbling in color photography. NASA’s Curiosity rover beamed back its first color photo today, showing the rim of its new crater home.
NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars this morning with much fanfare here on Earth. The photo above is one of the first photographs snapped by the rover and beamed back to Earth. Captured through a fisheye wide-angle lens, the landscape photo hows a gravel field in the foreground and the rim of the Gale Crater (the rover’s new home) in the distance.
The image is blown out in the upper region due to the fact that the camera is pointed straight at the sun. Unlike our Earthling cameras, however, the one-megapixel Hazard-Avoidance cameras (Hazcams) on the rover are not damaged by the sun.
In 2007 NASA scrapped plans to include a 3D camera on the Curiosity Mars rover, which is scheduled to leave for the red planet in 2011. However, Avatar director James Cameron was able to convince NASA administrator Charles Bolden to include the 3D cam again, and is now helping to build the camera with San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems.
Maybe some of this footage will end up as “Mars: The 3D IMAX Documentary”.
Image source: Artist concept drawing by NASA