The Mars rover Curiosity has opened its reclosable dust cover for the first time, taking the clearest photograph of Mars ever.
According to NASA, the photograph was taken by the rover's Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 33rd Martian day of Curisoity's mission to Mars.
The level of detail apparent in the image shows that haziness in earlier MAHLI images since landing was due to dust that had settled on the dust cover during the landing.
The patch of ground shown is about 34 inches (86 centimeters) across. The size of the largest pebble, near the bottom of the image, is about 3 inches (8 centimeters). Notice that the ground immediately around that pebble has less dust visible (more gravel exposed) than in other parts of the image. The presence of the pebble may have affected the wind in a way that preferentially removes dust from the surface around it.
While the rover has yet to discover water (or aliens), according to the Guardian, previous missions to Mars have shown that there's evidence of water flowing over Mars' surface. Curiosity was sent to Mars to search for organic materials and other chemical necessities that may indicate life on the red planet could be possible.
More from GlobalPost: Curiosity snaps self portrait