Curiosity Rover Takes an Incredible Self-Portrait

by Nancy Atkinson on October 31, 2012

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Wow, what a view of the Curiosity rover! This is a self-portrait mosaic made from brand new images taken by the MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager), the high-resolution camera located on the turret at the end of MSL’s robotic arm. The arm was moved for each of the 55 images in this mosaic, so the arm doesn’t show up in the mosaic. This montage was put together by Stuart Atkinson, and he notes that these images are just the low-res thumbnail images that have just been sent to Earth. “Imagine what the hi-res version will look like!!” Stu said.

We can’t wait. Here’s looking at you, Curiosity!

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems/Stuart Atkinson

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Aqua4U November 1, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Cool image Stuart! Thanks! Everything from the Curiosity rover rocks MY world! or will soon enough!

Adam Brinckerhoff November 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Wow, that is a great collage! I can’t wait to see the high resolution version.

I wonder when it will be an astronaut taking that picture instead of the rover’s arm. What do you think? And who will it be that sends them there? It will be fun to watch and see.

Adam Brinckerhoff
Development Engineer
SpaceUnited

lcrowell November 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM

This brings a bit of a question. I don’t see an arm attached to the rover that goes off to one side of this image.

LC

Lord Haw-Haw. November 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM

An ‘armless enough question, Nancy’s article reads: “The arm was moved for each of the 55 images in this mosaic, so the arm doesn’t show up in the mosaic.”

Torbjörn Larsson November 2, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Then you are armed with knowledge.

Chetan Chauhan November 2, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Heh.. I find it a little funny that they send the rover abt 80million km away and then it takes photo’s of itself..
Perhaps they wanted to use a little of the rovers idle time checking out the hardware.

Lord Haw-Haw. November 2, 2012 at 7:42 PM

That viewpoint is endorsed by the researchers involved who are assessing wheel wear and dust accumulation, about two hours ago “Wired Science” posted an improved version of the mosaic upon which a zoom-in capability is incorporated:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/high-res-curiosity-portrait

filledout November 2, 2012 at 12:05 AM

Cute, to be sure, but it begs a question: shouldn’t there be more ambition in this mission than there is? Perhaps I was wrong to see this as a prospecting mission leading to missions more focused on construction, scavenging, mining with the aim of establishiing a (initally robotic) mars base. Focusing on geology only and cutesy self-portaits are, for me, a bit of a letdown.

NancyAtkinson November 2, 2012 at 3:25 AM

Images like this are used to assess things like dust accumulation, and gives the scientists and engineers a chance to see if anything is amiss.

Torbjörn Larsson November 2, 2012 at 7:35 AM

Curiosity is indeed an ambitious mission, as it was the last mission to study habitability and geology in preparation for sample return. I think you can read up on that on Wikipedia or NASA.

Now sample return is pushed into the next decade at best. But Curiosity is fulfilling its ambitious goals in spades. It has already established that the Gale crater sediments span the period where Mars went from wet to dry. I was initially concerned that the power source would be damaged during transit and landing (quality problems), but no more.

Presumably the central mound deposits can unravel the basic geology of that period. And if we are lucky we can see habitability and perhaps even if Mars was inhabited early on.

As for mining, other missions have been tasked with looking at resource (power and rover fuel, rocket fuel) extraction from atmosphere and soils in preparation for extended robotic and/or sample return missions as well as manned missions. They seem to be pushed into the future as well.

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