A grainy b&w image captured by a fisheye lens on board NASAu2019s Curiosity rover is the first to be beamed back from the latest mission to the red planet.

Picture credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The monochrome photo was captured within minutes of the rover landing on Mars earlier today and is a 64×64 pixel ‘thumbnail copy’, according to NASA.

‘The clear dust cover on the camera is still on in this view,’ states the US space agency on its website.

‘And dust can be seen around its edge, along with three cover fasteners. The rover’s shadow is visible in the foreground.’

Full-resolution versions are expected to arrive later.

The wideangle image was shot by a one-million-pixel Hazard-Avoidance camera attached to the body of the rover – a vehicle the size of a car.

Higher-spec cameras will be deployed to capture more images, via the vehicle’s Sensing Mast.

Larger, colour, shots are expected to be transmitted back to Earth later this week, according to NASA.

The rover features 12 ‘engineering cameras’ that capture photos using left and right stereo ‘eyes’. The pictures are merged to deliver three-dimensional data.

The first shots should reveal the rover vehicle’s immediate surroundings, indicating its location and tilt.

Half of the cameras attached to the vehicle are merely ‘back-ups’.