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Photo of the Day: First High Res from Curiosity

Mountains on Mars.

NASA recently released the first high resolution photos from the Mars rover Curiosity.

In the caption NASA reported:

These are the first two full-resolution images of the Martian surface from the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover, which are located on the rover's "head" or mast. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground. 

The topography of the rim is very mountainous due to erosion. The ground seen in the middle shows low-relief scarps and plains. The foreground shows two distinct zones of excavation likely carved out by blasts from the rover's descent stage thrusters. 

It's one small turn of the wheel for Curiosity, one giant leap for curious people in the United states.

MG42 August 09, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I think I'd rather have people smart enough to put a rover on Mars working on making cool new things that I can actually use. I'm sure lots of people think this is just great- but I doubt they'd give up their smart phones to have a rover on every planet. And for as deep in debt as our nation is this does not seem like a good use of money at all.
Andrew Metcalf (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Well, on the flip side, NASA's scientific research has led to important discoveries, including many things people use everyday. Such as, scratch resistant lenses, memory foam, ear thermometers, shoe insoles, long distance telephone communications, cordless tools and water filters; according to this article "10 NASA Inventions You Might Use Everday" on Discovery.com - http://curiosity.discovery.com/topic/physics-concepts-and-definitions/ten-nasa-inventions1.htm
MG42 August 09, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Austin Powers, you sure are giving NASA a lot of credit where none is due. Would cordless tools or water filters (just as two examples you mentioned) never have been invented but for NASA? Did Dr. Evil put you up to this?
Andrew Metcalf (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Always Dr. Evil, and avoiding shark tanks and large statues of Big Boy.
Michaelwritescode August 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
NASA's budget for the curiosity rover was $2.5b. It has provided unprecedented experience in the use of nuclear energy and air crane landing in space to our scientists. It has advanced the field of robotics by being the most nimble and feature rich remote vehicle ever places on another planet. The importance of putting this rover on Mars cannot be understated for various fields of science. For some comparison the Iraq war has cost over $900b since 2003. With that money we would be able to put four Curiosity rovers on Mars *every month* since 2003. I'm sure you could find similar statistics for the sacred cows of both parties (medicare, wars and military interventions like LIbya). If you want to talk about the national debt you're looking in the wrong place. That's like trying to pay your credit card bill by picking up pennies off the floor.

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