After 30 Earth-days on the surface of the red planet, the Mars rover Curiosity has stretched its neck, zapped its first rock and taken its first strolls. More firsts are still to come in the next couple weeks — like scooping, drilling and baking rocks — but the rover is pretty much ready to go, spending the next two years trying to determine if Mars could ever play host to life.
A new image released by NASA this week shows the Mars Rover Curiosity’s view of the red planet in a sweeping 360 degrees. The rover, which is en route toward a location known as Glenelg since last week, has been prodigiously snapping photos with its navigation camera, and mission handlers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory stitched together this panorama that shows both where Curiosity has been and where it is going.
Since we don't have the usual landmarks on Mars that we enjoy on Earth, it can be tough to get a sense of scale for the great shots we've seen from Mars rover Curiosity. In this photo of Mount Sharp--Curiosity's scientific destination--the mound in the center of the image is about 1,000 feet across and 300 feet high. Curiosity, relative to that, looks like a speck of dirt, as you can see after the jump.