The first color image beamed back by the rover. (NASA)
PASADENA, Calif. (August 7, 2012)--NASA's Curiosity rover has beamed back its first color photo from the ancient crater where it landed on Mars.
It shows a pebbly landscape and the rim of Gale Crater off in the distance.
Curiosity snapped the photo on the first day on the surface after touching down at 12:32 a.m. CDT Monday.
The rover took the shot with a camera at the end of its robotic arm, which remained stowed.
The landscape looked fuzzy because the camera's removable cover was coated with dust that kicked up during the rover’s descent.
Since landing, Curiosity has sent back several black-and-white images of its surroundings including a mountain view.
As it continues with its health checkups, it is expected to send back sharper pictures of its landing site.
NASA earlier released a low-resolution video of the Curiosity rover during the final few minutes of its descent to the Martian surface.
The video showed the protective heat shield falling away as the rover plummeted through the Mars' atmosphere and then the dust that was kicked up as the rover was lowered by cable into the crater.