This is the shadow of the Curiosity, the third Rover to land working on Mars. The Curiosity send out her first signals this morning from Mars after a successful Entry, Descent and Landing. The team is very luck that everything worked well. The Mars orbiter Odyssey could be turned the right way to relay Curiosity’s signals and the Rover landed in such a way that it could indeed reach the Odyssey. The possibility was that it landed on the side of a hill or something in such a way that it’s signals could not be picked up by the Odyssey or the other orbiter Reconnaissance and the signals have to be picked up by the Earth direct. Since this window is only a couple of minutes away this could have taken much more time to know for sure that the Curiosity is working well.
Congratulations to the NASA JPL team! All their time, work, energy, patience and money is paying back. The first images have arrived at earth and these are not only the the first awaited post-stamp size images, but the bigger images from the black and white hazcams. This was possible because the Odyssey was in line to relay the higher bandwidth images back. Some more testing has to be done before the mast can be raised and the full-blown HD- images can be received. I am Curious!