Curiosity Rover Busts Out the Telephoto Lens

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Even better photographs of Mt. Sharp, the rover's eventual science destination.

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In the latest of NASA's stunning images from Mars, the Jet Propulsion Lab team released this photograph of the "layered buttes" at the base of Mt. Sharp, the Curiosity rover's eventual target terrain. 

The image was taken with the 100-millimeter Mastcam, and white balanced for how the rocks would look with Earth's light and atmosphere. (If you were standing looking at this scene on Mars, everything would look redder.) For scale, the mound directly in the center of the image is about 300 feet high. 

The team also released a mosaic of images showing the very peak of Mt. Sharp, the mountain in the center of Gale Crater, the depression in which the rover is sitting. The rover won't ascend to the 18,000-foot peak, but will head to the base of the mountain. (The image below has also been white balanced for earth conditions.)

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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