Mars rover sends back 1st 360-degree view
Published: August 9, 2012 02:25PM
Updated: August 9, 2012 02:26PM
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A 360-degree panorama in color of Gale Crater Vista, taken by NASA's Curiosity rover is displayed at the Malin Space Science Systems, MSSS, control room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., early morning Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. Scientists will be taking a closer look at several splotches in the foreground that appear gray. These areas show the effects of the descent stage's rocket engines blasting the ground. What appeared as a dark strip of dunes in previous, black-and-white pictures from Curiosity can also be seen along the top of this mosaic, but the color images also reveal additional shades of reddish brown around the dunes, likely indicating different textures or materials. MSSS built and operates the orbiter's Context Camera. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Pasadena, Calif. • The Curiosity rover has returned another postcard from Mars — the first 360-degree color view from Gale Crater.

Since landing Sunday night, NASA’s six-wheel rover has been sending home a trickle of pictures, beginning with grainy, black-and-white photos. It also beamed back a low-quality video showing the last few minutes of its descent to the surface.

It recently raised its mast containing high-resolution and navigation cameras that have given scientists a better view of the landing site.

Curiosity is on a two-year mission to study whether Gale ever had conditions favorable for microbial life.