This image combines photographs taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at three different distances from the first Martian rock that NASA's Curiosity rover touched with its arm. The three exposures were taken during the 47th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Sept. 23, 2012). The team has named the target rock "Jake Matijevic." The scale bar is 4 centimeters (1.6 inches).
MAHLI imaged Jake Matijevic from distances of about 10 inches, or 25 centimeters (context image); about 2 inches, or 5 centimeters (larger white box); and about 1 inch, or 2.5 centimeters (smaller white box). The series nested into this one image takes advantage of MAHLI's adjustable focus.
MAHLI reveals that the target rock has a relatively smooth, gray surface with some glinty facets reflecting sunlight and reddish dust collecting in recesses in the rock.
Jake Matijevic is a dark, apparently uniform rock that was selected as a desirable target because it allowed the science team to compare results of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument and the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument, both of which provide information about the chemical elements in a target. APXS, like MAHLI, is on the turret at the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. It is placed in contact with a rock to take a reading. ChemCam shoots laser pulses at a target from the top of the rover's mast.
Jake Matijevic was also the first rock target for MAHLI, which was deployed to document the APXS and ChemCam analysis areas.
JPL manages the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
For more about NASA's Curiosity mission, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl, http://www.nasa.gov/mars, and http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.