(Photo: NASA/Mars Science Laboratory/Handout)
New Mars photos have amazed scientists as the first pictures from the Curiosity Mars Rover have been released. The rest of the stunning photos from the red planet will be revealed next week, according to reports.
The one ton rover landed Sunday on Mars sparking celebrations in NASA. The vehicle, which is about the size of an SUV, immediately began sending back pictures of the Martian landscape with its "fisheye" Hazard Avoidance Cameras.
Project manager of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, John Grotzinger, spoke about the image sent by the rover to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
"Curiosity's landing site is beginning to come into focus," Grotzinger said. "In the image, we are looking to the northwest. What you see on the horizon is the rim of Gale Crater. In the foreground, you can see a gravel field. The question is, where does this gravel come from? It is the first of what will be many scientific questions to come from our new home on Mars."
The Mars Science Laboratory said, "The cameras are looking directly into the sun, so the top of the image is saturated. Looking straight into the sun does not harm the cameras. The lines across the top are an artifact called 'blooming' that occurs in the camera's detector because of the saturation."
On Twitter the Curiosity Rover tweeted that the coming pictures would be released in color. "FYI, I aim to send bigger, color pictures from Mars later this week once I've got my head up & Mastcam active #MSL"
To see the "bigger, color pictures" follow the Curiosity Rover on Twitter @MarsCuriosity where they will most likely be posted first.