On August 6, 2012, at 05:17 UTC, the Mars Science Laboratory - nicknamed Curiosity
- touched down on the surface of the Red Planet. It is by far the largest and most ambitious scientific lab sent to Mars - it has a mass of nearly a ton, and carries an armada of detectors to investigate its environment. It will roam the area around the 150-kilometer-wide Gale crater, inspecting the region's geography and peering into its history. Curiosity's purpose: to see if Mars was once or is now potentially habitable.
Curiosity will poke and prod the landscape for at least two Earth years - about one Martian year. It just completed its first week on the planet, and has already returned amazing images. In this gallery are pictures taken by the rover on the surface as well as incredible shots of it as seen from orbit. These pictures are just a few of my favorites - you can find hundreds, thousands more at the NASA MSL images archive
. Artwork credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech