NASA's whopping Mars rover Curiosity has successfully landed in a crater on Mars, and has started beaming back images of the red planet's eerie surface.
Below is one of the first shots to be sent back, showing Curiosity's hulking shadow plastered across the Martian terrain. It's a little blurry, but hi-res colour photos will follow in the next few days, the BBC reports, once Curiosity has had a stretch and its morning coffee.
The 1-tonne vehicle, which is destined to explore a 5km-high mountain inside Gale Crater, has the lonely job of roaming around, studying rocks and
locating alien nests checking whether Mars could have once supported microbial life.
The task will take two years, making Curiosity's 36-week flight to the planet feel almost insignificant.
The rover, which is roughly the size of a car and considerably taller than a human, is slathered in seven high-tech cameras. The very first snaps likely came from the 1-megapixel Hazard-Avoidance cameras, while the Mast Cameras -- which have a narrower field-of-view -- will begin taking colour photos before very long, with a high-resolution panorama to follow.
It's been a good year for science and space, with bonkers tycoons Planetary Resources deciding to mine asteroids for delicious minerals, and the Earth-bound Large Hadron Collider discovering a Higgs boson-consistent particle, showing that our understanding of physics is basically on the right track.
Would you journey into space if offered the chance? Or are you perfectly happy here on Earth (or whichever planet you're reading this from)? Let me know in the comments or on our intergalactic planetary Facebook wall.
Image credit: NASA