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Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 08/10/2012

Mars rover Curiosity delivers new high-res images, offers fresh view of planetary neighbor (updated)

INTERACTIVE | Scroll through black and white and color panoramas from Mars Curiosity

The Mars rover Curiosity continues to deliver stunning new images from the planet’s surface, and the Internet can’t get enough.

Here, we’ve collected some of the latest images from the rover, along with what they tell us about where Curiosity is and any new findings about our planetary neighbor.

View of Curiosity as heat shield falls away


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured an image of the rover gliding on its parachute. The image was taken with the orbiter's High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Curiosity’s heat shield as seen from Mars orbiter


This image shows Curiosity’s heat shield, which protected the rover during its rapid descent to Mars surface. The image was taken with the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, roughly 24 hours after the heat shield landed on the surface. (HANDOUT - REUTERS)

The parachute and back shell of Curiosity


The parachute and back shell of NASA's Curiosity rover strewn across the surface of Mars, is seen in this close-up view released by NASA August 7, 2012. The image was captured by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter about 24 hours after the parachute helped guide the rover to the surface. When the back shell impacted the ground, bright dust was kicked up, exposing darker material underneath. (HANDOUT - REUTERS)

Curiosity rover spotted on Mars


This close-up view, released by NASA August 7, 2012, shows NASA's Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. The image was captured by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter about 24 hours after the rover made its grand appearance on Mars. As the rover was guided to the surface by the descent stage, rocket thrusters blew away bright surface dust, exposing the darker material seen around the rover. (HANDOUT - REUTERS)

A map of Curiosity’s Mars landing and the various components


The four main pieces of hardware that arrived on Mars with NASA's Curiosity rover were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in this photograph released by NASA August 7, 2012. The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image about 24 hours after landing. The large, reduced-scale image points out the strewn hardware: the heat shield was the first piece to hit the ground, followed by the back shell attached to the parachute, then the rover itself touched down, and finally, after cables were cut, the sky crane flew away to the northwest and crashed. Relatively dark areas in all four spots are from disturbances of the bright dust on Mars, revealing the darker material below the surface dust. Around the rover, this disturbance was from the sky crane thrusters, and forms a bilaterally symmetrical pattern. The darkened radial jets from the sky crane are downrange from the point of oblique impact, much like the oblique impacts of asteroids. In fact, they make an arrow pointing to Curiosity. (HANDOUT - REUTERS)

A view of Curiosity’s descent from MARDI


This color thumbnail image was obtained by NASA's Curiosity rover during its descent to the surface of Mars on August 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT) and transmitted to Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The image was obtained by the Mars Descent Imager instrument known as MARDI and shows the 15-foot (4.5-meter) diameter heat shield when it was about 50 feet (16 meters) from the spacecraft. It was obtained two and one-half minutes before touching down on the surface of Mars and about three seconds after heat shield separation. It is among the first color images Curiosity sent back from Mars. The resolution of all of the MARDI frames is reduced by a factor of eight in order for them to be promptly received on Earth during this early phase of the mission. Full resolution (1,600 by 1,200 pixel) images will be returned to Earth over the next several months as Curiosity begins its scientific exploration of Mars. The original image from MARDI has been geometrically corrected to look flat. The MSL Rover named Curiosity is equipped with a nuclear-powered lab capable of vaporizing rocks and ingesting soil, measuring habitability, and whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbe. (NASA - GETTY IMAGES)


In this higher resolution image released by NASA on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, an image showing the heat shield of NASA's Curiosity rover, obtained during descent to the surface of Mars. The image was obtained by the Mars Descent Imager instrument known as MARDI and shows the 15-foot diameter heat shield when it was about 50 feet from the spacecraft. (AP - AP)

Thumbnail images in sequence as Mars rover lands

The first color image of Martian landscape


This view of the landscape to the north of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the afternoon of the first day after landing. (The team calls this day Sol 1, which is the first Martian day of operations; Sol 1 began on August 6, 2012.) In the distance, the image shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater. The image is murky because the MAHLI's removable dust cover is apparently coated with dust blown onto the camera during the rover's terminal descent. Images taken without the dust cover in place are expected during checkout of the robotic arm in coming weeks. The main purpose of Curiosity's MAHLI camera is to acquire close-up, high-resolution views of rocks and soil at the rover's Gale Crater field site. The camera is capable of focusing on any target at distances of about 0.8 inch (2.1 centimeters) to infinity. This means it can, as shown here, also obtain pictures of the Martian landscape. The MSL Rover named Curiosity is equipped with a nuclear-powered lab capable of vaporizing rocks and ingesting soil, measuring habitability, and whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbe. (NASA - GETTY IMAGES)

Image of Martian horizon


This image released by NASA on Wednesday Aug. 8, 2012 taken by cameras aboard the Curiosity rover shows the Martian horizon. It's one of dozens of images that will be made into a panorama. (HOPD - AP)

First image of Mount Sharp


One of the first views from NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars the evening of August 5 PDT (August 6 EDT). The image shows what lies ahead for the rover -- its main science target, Mount Sharp. The rover's shadow can be seen in the foreground, and the dark bands beyond are dunes. Rising up in the distance is the highest peak Mount Sharp at a height of about 3.4 miles(5.4km), taller than Mt. Whitney in California. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Yet another view of Mount Sharp...


This image taken by NASA's Curiosity shows what lies ahead for the rover -- its main science target, informally called Mount Sharp, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (MSL Curiosity - AP)

View from Curiosity in 3-D color


The Martian landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover in 3-D colors is seen in this picture released by NASA August 7, 2012. (HANDOUT - REUTERS)

Shadow of Curiosity’s mast


This image released by NASA on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, shows the edge of NASA's Curiosity rover, showing the shadow of the rover's now-upright mast in the center, and the arm's shadow at left. The navigation camera is used to help find the sun -- information that is needed for locating, and communicating, with Earth. (AP - AP)

Full resolution images of Mars surface


This image released on Wednesday Aug. 8, 2012 by NASA, shows a mosaic of the first two full-resolution images of the Martian surface from the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground. The foreground shows two distinct zones of excavation likely carved out by blasts from the rover's descent stage thrusters. (AP - AP)

First portion of 360-degree view


This NASA image obtained August 8, 2012 shows a portion of the first 360-degree panoramic view from NASA's Curiosity rover, taken with the Navigation cameras. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. These are two of the tiles from near the center at full-resolution. Mount Sharp is to the right, and the north Gale Crater rim can be seen at center. The rover's body is in the foreground, with the shadow of its head, or mast, poking up to the right. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Curiosity takes self-portrait


This NASA image obtained August 8, 2012 shows a Picasso-like self portrait of NASA's Curiosity rover taken by its Navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover, while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead. Those images are shown here in a polar projection. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. Two of the tiles are full-resolution. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

INTERACTIVE | Panoramic view of Mars

Close-up view of soil around Curiosity landing site


This NASA image obtained August 9, 2012 shows a close-up view of the zones where the soil at Curiosity's landing site was blown away by the thrusters on the rover's descent stage on Mars. The excavation of the soil reveals probable bedrock outcrop. This is important because it shows the shallow depth of the soil in this area. The area surrounding the zones of excavation shows abundant small rocks that may form a pavement-like layer above harder bedrock. This full-resolution image was taken by the rover's Navigation camera. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Curiosity rover self-portrait


This NASA image released August 9, 2012 shows the deck of NASA's Curiosity rover from the rover's Navigation cameras. The back of the rover can be seen at the top left of the image, and two of the rover's right side wheels can be seen on the left. Part of the pointy rim of Gale Crater forms the lighter color strip in the background. Bits of gravel, about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in size, are visible on the deck of the rover. This mosaic is made of eight images, each of 1,024 by 1,024 pixels, taken late at night on August 7 PDT (early morning August 8 EDT). It uses an average of the Navcam positions to synthesize the point of view of a single camera, with a field of view of 120 degrees. Seams between the images have been minimized, but a few are still visible. The wide field of view introduces some distortion at the edges of the mosaic.The "augmented reality" or AR tag seen in the middle of the image can be used in the future with smart phones to obtain more information about the mission. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Back left of Curiosity rover and rim of Gale Crater


This NASA image released August 9, 2012 shows part of the deck of NASA's Curiosity rover taken from one of the rover's Navigation cameras looking toward the back left of the rover on August 7 PDT (August 8 EDT). On the left of this image, part of the rover's power supply is visible. To the right of the power supply can be seen the pointy low-gain antenna and side of the paddle-shaped high-gain antenna for communications directly to Earth. The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The effects of the descent stage's rocket engines blasting the ground can be seen on the right side of the image, next to the rover. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Part of first color panorama


This NASA image released August 9, 2012 shows first 360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater landing site taken by NASA's Curiosity rover on August 8, 2012. The panorama was made from thumbnail versions of images taken by the Mast Camera. 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. (HO - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Closer look at part of first color panorama


This cut-out from a color panorama image taken August 8, 2012 by NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars and released August 9, shows the effects of the descent stage's rocket engines blasting the ground. It comes from the left side of the thumbnail panorama obtained by Curiosity's Mast Camera. (HANDOUT - REUTERS)

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