Panorama: Tire tracks on Mars

This 360-degree image shows evidence of a successful first test drive for NASA’s Curiosity rover

This 360-degree panorama from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the area within Gale Crater on Mars. The rover's deck is seen below. The rover's "head," or mast, where the navigation cameras that took this picture are located, casts a shadow seen near the center. The rim of Gale Crater is in the distance, and the base of Mt. Sharp is beyond the rover's shadow.


NASA's Curiosity rover has made its first move, going forward about 15 feet, rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet. Curiosity is about 20 feet from its landing site, now named Bradbury Landing. Visible in the image are the rover's first track marks. A small 3.5-inch rock can be seen where the drive began; engineers say the rock was partially under one of the rear wheels. Marks left by the rover's descent stage during landing can be seen to the left and right of the wheel tracks. The lower slopes of Mount Sharp are visible at the top of the picture, near the center. This mosaic from the rover's Navigation camera is made up of 23 full-resolution frames, displayed in a cylindrical projection. More photos: Inside the Mars landing at JPL