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Mars rover transmits first color image

MOSCOW, Aug. 8 — The Mars rover deemed “Curiosity” has sent back to Earth its first color image of Mars’ surface, NASA said on its website on Wednesday.

“Curiosity transmitted its first color image from the surface of Mars, from the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, showing part of the north rim of Gale Crater,” NASA said. “Additional calibration images were received from Curiosity's Navcam and Mastcam.”

Curiosity successfully touched down on the Red Planet on Monday morning after a highly risky atmospheric entry sequence. NASA says the rover is “healthy as it continues to familiarize itself with its new home in Gale Crater and check out its systems.”

Earlier this week, NASA published black-and-white images made by Curiosity’s Navcam.

The mission of Curiosity, the largest and most technologically complex Mars rover yet, is to determine whether Mars is or ever was a habitable planet for microbial life. Curiosity will gradually turn on its scientific equipment to carry out geological and geochemical research, to study the planet’s atmosphere and climate, and to search for water and organic substances.

It is NASA's first Mars landing since the Spirit and Opportunity rovers in 2004.

A Russian-built neutron detector on board Curiosity, designed to search for any water that might be bound in shallow underground minerals along the rover's path, will be activated within three to four days, a Russian scientist said on Monday. (PNA/RIA Novosti) CTB/rsm

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