Mars rover Curiosity beams back new data and images

by Sean Morris
CNN Meteorologist

During a NASA teleconference on Friday afternoon NASA scientists revealed new data and images from the surface of Mars that were captured by Curiosity.

Weather data was beamed back to Earth on Friday for the first diurnal cycle of Curiosity’s location. Readings showed the high temperature during the cycle was only 1 degree Celsius. The weather data comes from the Spanish-built Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS). The instrument will run for approximately five minutes every hour night and day. The REMS will record wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity. Other sensors will monitor radiation on the planet’s surface.

The is the first time in 30 years that there is a continuously operating weather station on the surface of Mars. The last time weather readings were beamed back to Earth from the surface was in 1982 from the Viking lander.

Image 1. The following image (cut out from a mosaic of images) shows the view from the landing site of Curiosity toward the lower reaches of Mount Sharp. Curiosity is expected to begin its ascent through hundreds of feet of layered deposits here. The lower several hundred feet show evidence of containing hydrated minerals based on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observations. The terrain is similar to the four-corners region of the United States.

Image 2. The image below is a self-portrait of the rover Curiosity from its Navigation camera. This composite image was composed from a mosaic of 20 images.

Images 3a/3b. The following images show four blast marks from Curiosity’s descent stage rockets. The rockets blew away some of the material on the surface. The blast marks were named from a list of rock formations in Canada. They all have something to do with heat. This image was taken from the rover’s mast camera.

Image 4: The image below is a close up of one of the four blast marks created on the surface of Mars from the rover’s descent stage rockets. This blast mark is located near the left wheel of the rover. The scour mark is named after a 2-billion-year-old sequence of rocks in northern Canada.

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