The probe is actually equipped with two cameras. The one that took these pictures is the Instrument Deployment Camera, which is mounted the elbow of a 6-foot arm and will be supplying us with more gorgeous images. The other is the Instrument Context Camera, which takes less sharp images and is more for practical purposes. Unfortunately, those images are going to be lower quality than anticipated.
“We had a protective cover on the Instrument Context Camera, but somehow dust still managed to get onto the lens,” InSight project manager Tom Hoffman explained. “While this is unfortunate, it will not affect the role of the camera, which is to take images of the area in front of the lander where our instruments will eventually be placed.”
So take heart: We still have the other, better camera, and we're getting images from a place so far away that instructions take 12.5 minutes to reach out equipment.
“Today we can see the first glimpses of our workspace,” Bruce Banerdt, the mission's principal investigator, said in a statement. “By early next week, we’ll be imaging it in finer detail and creating a full mosaic.”
There will be plenty more to come. The mission is planned to last two Earth years -- or one Martian year.
h/t NASA, Gizmodo