Mars Orbiter Captures Curiosity's Progress
NASA's Curiosity has completed its longest trek yet. The Mars rover journeyed more than 30 meters on its 29th Martian day, which ended September 5 at 2:37 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time by Earth's clock. In total, the rolling laboratory has covered 109 meters but must traverse many more to reach its first scientific sampling site. Before it proceeds, Curiosity will take a few days to test equipment on its robotic arm.
This color-enhanced image comes from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and reveals a slightly earlier stage in the rover's travels. On September 2, the orbiter's High Resolution Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera took this photograph, as well as images of Curiosity's fallen back shell and parachute that helped the rover land safely.
In this picture, you can clearly see the parallel tread of Curiosity's tracks. The rover's descent onto the planet disturbed soil in patches (visible near the start of the tracks), revealing the dark sands below the Red Planet's dusty surface.