Panoramic View From 'Rocknest' Position of Curiosity Mars Rover. This panorama is a mosaic of images taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on the NASA Mars rover Curiosity while the rover was working at a site called "Rocknest" in October and November 2012. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems.
The NASA Mars rover Curiosity began its flight to Mars on November 26, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, tucked inside the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft. One year after launch and 16 weeks since its dramatic landing on target inside Gale Crater, Curiosity has returned more than 23,000 raw images; driven 1,696 feet (517 metres) and begun helping researchers better understand the area's environmental history.
The car-size rover is at a site called "Point Lake" overlooking lower ground to the east, where the rover team intends to find a target for first use of Curiosity's rock-sampling drill.
During a two-year prime mission, researchers are using Curiosity's 10 science instruments to assess whether the study area in Gale Crater ever has offered environmental conditions favourable for microbial life.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.
More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .