Image caption: This image of a Martian rock illuminated by white-light LEDs (light emitting diodes) is part of the first set of nighttime images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the robotic arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. The image was taken on Jan. 22, 2012, after dark on Sol 165. It covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Curiosity’s high resolution robotic arm camera has just snapped the 1st set of night time images of a Martian rock of the now 5 month long mission – using illumination from ultraviolet and white light emitting LED’s. See the images above and below.
The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera is located on the tool turret at the end of Curiosity’s 7 foot (2.1 m) long robotic arm.
MAHLI took the close-up images of a rock target named “Sayunei” on Jan 22 (Sol 165), located near the front-left wheel after the rover had driven over and scuffed the area to break up rocks in an effort to try and expose fresh material, free of obscuring dust.
“Sayunei” is at the site of the “John Klein” outcrop in “Yellowknife Bay” where the team hopes to commence the 1st rock drilling operations here in the coming days.Curiosity drove a few meters several sols ago to reach “John Klein”.
Image caption: This image of a Martian rock illuminated by ultraviolet LEDs (light emitting diodes) is part of the first set of nighttime images taken by the MAHLI camera on the robotic arm. The image was taken on Jan. 22, 2012, after dark on Sol 165. It covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
“The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals,” said MAHLI Principal Investigator Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. “These data just arrived this morning. The science team is still assessing the observations. If something looked green, yellow, orange or red under the ultraviolet illumination, that’d be a more clear-cut indicator of fluorescence.”
Analysis is still in progress to determine whether fluorescent minerals are present.
MAHLI is an adjustable focus camera that works over a wide range. It can focus on targets just a few centimeters away or on distant objects like Mount Sharp, over 6 miles (10 km) away.
The LED’s surround the MAHLI lens.
Curiosity has discovered widespread for the ancient flow of liquid water at “Yellowknife Bay” in the form of water bearing mineral veins, cross-bedded layering, nodules and spherical sedimentary concretions.