NASA's latest color image of Mars from Curiosity rover

A closer look at Mars from the Curiosity rover's Mastcam. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

(CBS News) More photos of Mars have been released by NASA. A panoramic color photo of the red planet's Gale Crater reveals the environment the Curiosity rover will traverse through.

The 79-image mosaic of photos taken by the Curiosity rover's Mastcam show a barren landscape and dusty horizon. Taken on Aug. 9, it took about an hour for the images to reach Earth. When all of the images are finished downloading, NASA will have 130 photos with 1,200 x 1,200 pixel resolution.

A 79-image mosaic of photos taken by the Curiosity rover's Mastcam show a barren landscape and dusty horizon. Click on the image for a full resolution image.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

According to NASA, the black areas on the panorama photo are images that have not yet been returned by the Curiosity rover.

This color image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows part of the wall of Gale Crater, the location on Mars where the rover landed on Aug. 5, 2012 PDT.
The Gale Crate wall north of the landing site shows a network of valleys say may be formed by erosion from water flowing into the Gale Crater.These fluvial systems are believed to be millions or even billions of years old - from a time of Mars when water flowed freely across the surface. The main channel deposit seen here resembles a dirt road ascending into the mountains, which are actually the north wall and rim of Gale Crater.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA says geologists plan to examine the area uncovered by the blast of the Mars Science Laboratory's rockets. The space agency says that the loose debris reveals underlying materials, most notable is "a well-defined, topmost layer that contains fragments of rock embedded in a matix of finer material."

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