A High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured photos of the Curiosity rover at work.
HiRISE took the pictures of Curiosity on December 11, 2013 which NASA released on January 9 this year. One of the images shows the rover at the bottom left corner with two parallel lines of the wheel tracks.
Another photo shows the rover's tracks as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; however, the picture does not show Curiosity. The image shows how the rover zigzagged on the rough surface of Mars to avoid steep slopes and other obstacles on its route to the lower slopes of Mount Sharp.
HiRISE first captured images of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft when it was descending on a parachute to place the Curiosity rover on the surface of the Red Planet. Since then, HiRISE has provided many images of the rover from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The HiRISE was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado and is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson.
As part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL), the car-sized Curiosity rover was launched from Cape Canaveral on Saturday, November 26, 2011. The rover successfully landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on Monday, August 6, 2012. The Curiosity rover is meant to cover Gale Crater on Mars.
The key objectives of the Curiosity rover include investigating the geology and climate of the Red Planet. The rover will also assess whether the selected field site inside the Gale Crater has ever contained environmental conditions, which are favorable for microbial life, as well as investigating the role of water on the planet, and planetary habitability studies that may be required for future exploration of Mars.
On December 20, 2013, NASA also released an image of one of the six wheels taken of the rover taken by Curiosity's robotic arm-mounted Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), which showed marks of waer and tear.
The information collected by Curiosity has also made scientists believe that humans may be sent to Mars in 2030's or 2040's.