Mars rover already doing science

August 7, 2012

Curiosity on its Way. From 340 kilometers away, the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught the Curiosity rover inside its entry vehicle dangling from its parachute. The chute had been ejected from the entry vehicle by an explosive charge after atmospheric drag had slowed it to Mach 2. The descent vehicle with the rover tucked inside would soon drop out to fire its retrorockets. (Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech)

NASA’s new Mars Rover  has already returned scientific data in its first day on Mars, Science Now reports.

The uniform size of the small gravel at the surface suggests material carried from the crater rim by water rather than debris blown out of nearby smaller impact craters. The wheel’s failure to dent the surface on landing shows the surface to be relatively hard.