Curiosity Snaps Evocative Self Portrait

by Ken Kremer on September 8, 2012

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Image Cation: Curiosity takes Self Portrait on Sol 32 with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Image has been rotated up and enhanced by JPL. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

Curiosity has snapped an evocative new color self-portrait – and it’s totally unique, being the 1st head shot pose, showing the top of the Remote Sensing Mast (RSM).

You’ll notice it’s a bit dusty ! That’s because it was acquired through the transparent dust cover protecting the high resolution Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera positioned on the turret at the end of Curiosity’s 7 foot (2.1 meter) long robotic arm.

The gorgeous new image was taken on Sol 32 (Sept. 7, 2012) with the dust cover closed over the camera lens and thus provides a taste of even more spectacular views yet to come. The picture beautifully shows the Mastcam, Chemcam and Navcam cameras with the rim of Gale Crater in the background.

The MAHLI image above has been enhanced and rotated – to right side up. See the MAHLI raw image below.

The image was taken as JPL engineers were inspecting and moving the arm turret holding MAHLI and the other science instruments and tools and looking back to image them in turn using the Mast’s cameras.

NASA’s mega Martian rover is pausing for about a week or two at this location reached after driving on Sol 29 (Sept. 2) and will thoroughly check out the robotic arm and several science instruments.

So far Curiosity has driven about 358 feet (109 meters) and is sitting roughly 270 feet from the “Bradbury Landing” touchdown spot as the Martian crow flies.

The car sized robot is about a quarter of the way to Glenelg, the destination of her first lengthy science stop where three different types of geologic terrain intersect and are easily accessible for a detailed science survey using all 10 state of the art instruments including the rock drill and soil sampling mechanisms.

Ken Kremer


Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC,, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Rodney Pace September 8, 2012 at 7:58 PM

nevermind….this only evokes memories of some bad sci-fi animated movie.

Boone_1781 September 8, 2012 at 8:13 PM

It evokes a “wow.”

Rodney Pace September 8, 2012 at 8:16 PM

It evokes WALL-E to me and nothing else (or a one-eyed version thereof)

Deejay Nunti September 8, 2012 at 8:45 PM

true, it looks like the eye of Wall-E… Using the same raw shot and a free soft on the internet i got a better photo than NASA`s

muffie 1801 September 13, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Johnny 5……ALIVE!!!

zkank September 9, 2012 at 3:44 AM

My first impression was either Huey, Dewey, or Louie from Silent Running.

Erica Hejnar September 8, 2012 at 11:25 PM

I can imagine the pic they aren’t sowing us. cool pic

Nelson T Montes September 9, 2012 at 3:57 AM

Number 5 alive…

Jeffrey Scott Boerst September 9, 2012 at 6:18 AM

It evokes a hot chick in her undies posing in a foggy bathroom mirror with her iPhone, to me… lol!

Aqua4U September 9, 2012 at 8:03 PM

The Russian instrument DAN (Dynamic Albeito of Neutrons), remotely probes the ground below the rover using Neutrons… trick! The engineering/qualification test stops allow DAN longer integration times and subsequently higher resolution data. Here’s hoping they find lots of ice! Be it…. Perchlorated, salty, slushy, muddied or pure!

Richard_Kirk September 10, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Did it recognize itself, though?

JM September 14, 2012 at 10:54 PM


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