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Mars Curiosity Rover Beams Back First Nighttime, Ultraviolet Photos

The Mars Curiosity Rover has beamed back its first nighttime pictures. It sent one taken while using its white LED lights and another using its ultraviolet LED lights.

It's a milestone and the pictures are pretty cool. But they don't tell us much of anything yet.

"The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals," the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Principal Investigator Ken Edgett said in a statement Thursday. "These data just arrived this morning. The science team is still assessing the observations. If something looked green, yellow, orange or red under the ultraviolet illumination, that'd be a more clear-cut indicator of fluorescence."

Here are the images:

This rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail. i i

hide captionThis rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
This rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail.

This rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
The illumination for this picture came from MAHLI's two ultraviolet LEDs. The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals.

hide captionThe illumination for this picture came from MAHLI's two ultraviolet LEDs. The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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