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A Brief History Of Photographers On Mars

This is one of the first images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars early Monday. It was taken through a wide-angle lens on the left "eye" of a stereo pair of Hazard-Avoidance cameras. Larger color images from other cameras are expected later in the week when the rover's mast, carrying high-resolution cameras, is deployed. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

The new Mars rover, Curiosity, has only been on the ground for a few hours and is already dispatching photos. Those square, black-and-white landscape images complement those sent back by Curiosity's predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity.

Although there was a lot of repetitive imagery that came back from those rovers, NASA pared it down. If you spend enough time sifting through the archives, a certain aesthetic starts to emerge: desolate, monochrome landscapes that almost look like film.

According to NASA, we can expect even better photos from Curiosity. The rover's mast is equipped with two color cameras with telephoto lenses. They will provide "enough resolution to distinguish a basketball from a football at a distance of seven football fields."

Before we get there, though, here's an homage to the artists that came before Curiosity. Curiously, the planet almost looks like it could be Utah ...