msl self portrait nov 1

The Curiosity Rover’s Ultimate Self-Portrait

Article Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

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The Curiosity rover self portrait. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

OK, we thought the low-resolution self-portrait from yesterday was great… but here’s the real goods: a monster, high-resolution awesome mosaic of 55 images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), showing the rover at its spot in Gale Crater — called Rocknest — with the base of Gale Crater’s 5-kilometer- (3-mile-) high mountain, Aeolis Mons or Mount Sharp, rising in the background. The images were taken on Sol 84 (Oct. 31, 2012), and sent to Earth today. In the foreground, four scoop scars can be seen in the regolith in front of the rover. As we mentioned about the previous MAHLI mosaic, the arm was moved for each of the 55 images, so the arm and the camera doesn’t show up, just like any photographer behind the camera (or their arms) isn’t visible in a photograph.

You can get access to the full resolution version at this link. It’s amazing.

But that’s not all…

NASA says that self-portraits like this one document the state of the rover and allow mission engineers to track changes over time, such as dust accumulation and wheel wear. Due to its location on the end of the robotic arm, only MAHLI (among the rover’s 17 cameras) is able to image some parts of the craft, including the port-side wheels.

Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Blog talks about the projection issue, where the wheel closest to the front looks big and distorted. That’s a factor of the camera angle and Emily mentions a discussion of this is taking place by the image wizards over at Unmanned Spaceflight , if you want to see the various ways to deal with this issue.

Emily also points out how the rover photographed itself photographing itself — due to the reflective surfaces on the turret, so check out her analysis.

You can always see the raw images coming in from Curiosity at this NASA website.

But the other cool thing is that another whole set of images was taken from a slightly different angle, which means only one thing: 3-D! Here’s Stu Atkinson’s first quick attempt:

There will surely be some refinements of the 3-D version, but enjoy this one for now!

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Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ian McLeod
Guest
November 2, 2012 2:18 AM

It’s so amazing what the human race is capable of…

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
November 2, 2012 3:33 AM

You mean it’s amazing what the Americans are capable of.
You don’t speak for me or the rest of humanity.
To presume otherwise is just pure arrogance.

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
November 2, 2012 6:59 AM

Note: The more negative ‘ticks’ the more you prove my point…
Just sayin’…

John Clinton
Guest
November 2, 2012 3:59 PM

Its amazing how stupid Americans can be.

Charles French (WPMCB)
Guest
Charles French (WPMCB)
November 2, 2012 12:06 PM

So by your standards no one is allowed to say “It’s so amazing what the human race is capable of.. ”

Can I say it?
If I were French could I say that?
How about if I was Thai would it be ok?

Are you allowed to say that?
Can any other americans say it? and if so who?
Or is it that one particular person

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
November 2, 2012 2:26 PM
“Can I say it? If I were French could I say that? How about if I was Thai would it be ok?” No. They would not be that bold or presumptuous, as would most countries in the world. Look is perfectly OK to be proud and support your own country, and justifiably too, America has good reasons to do so. Yet to claim to do things for “humanity”, but who really give you the permission to speak for the rest of us? We see the moves afoot for the great commercialisation of space, private enterprises, future plans to use asteroids as space quarries, and even militarisation of space to spy on other countries or use it to fight… Read more »
jesustherational
Guest
jesustherational
November 2, 2012 8:24 PM

Uh…yeah, just a second there, captain cynical. For the record, 11 nations contributed to the Mars Science Laboratory mission. Also, all of those who worked on it are human, so yeah, a pretty good cross section of the human race is responsible for this amazing accomplishment. Ok, now you can continue your humorless gripe-fest.

Matthew Little
Guest
November 2, 2012 10:53 PM
It is amazing what humans are capable of. Even if it weren’t beneficial to humanity and was just an amazing feat of engineering it’s still amazing what we’re capable of. No one was even speaking for humanity in the original statement, they were speaking about it from an outside perspective. It’s amazing what killer whales are capable of. I’m clearly not speaking on their behalf. And if space exploration isn’t beneficial to humanity I don’t know what is. We’re sitting on a rock floating around a light bulb in a vast emptiness. Human life, even planetary life is unsustainable without space travel. As for wonton littering, I have no idea what you’re talking about. The risk of bacteria… Read more »
Rick Holcomb
Guest
November 4, 2012 11:13 AM

I’ve seen this idea that we’re somehow ‘wanton littering’ the surface of Mars several times in several different places. It is beyond ludicrous.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
November 2, 2012 6:35 PM

Last I heard US citizens (I assume not “Americans” or even “North Americans”) were members of the human race.

Even if some makes it difficult to think so. Really, don’t you have any better to do than trolling serious science sites with trash talk? Let us not assassinate this site further, mister. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

PAUL ELF-IS
Guest
PAUL ELF-IS
November 3, 2012 7:22 PM

Are you talking in general?……..Or out of Uranus?

krenshala
Guest
krenshala
November 2, 2012 4:05 PM

It definitely is amazing. I can’t wait to see what we can manage as a species in the next few decades. smile

Astrofiend
Guest
Astrofiend
November 3, 2012 4:11 PM

Totally agree with you. And man, what a clown SJStar is!

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
Member
IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
November 3, 2012 4:56 PM

According to SJStar’s I.P. address, he resides Down Under in the same state as you do, but in a different town, so he’s one of your lot! wink

Astrofiend
Guest
Astrofiend
November 3, 2012 5:17 PM

Not surprising. Hmmm – same state, different town. A town which must contain jerks. I’m thinking Newcastle.

*(Maybe he’s a whinging pom!)
smile Quite possibly, although it seems like all Aussies do these days is whinge as well…

In any case, it’s good to be back on UT! I’ve been so buried in my astronomy PhD I haven’t had time to think about astronomy! I’m making it a priority now…

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
Member
IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
November 3, 2012 5:49 PM

A town which must contain jerks. I’m thinking Newcastle.

Actually, it’s a small town: Moss Vale.

Anyway, welcome back to UT!

Tim Amato
Guest
Tim Amato
November 2, 2012 4:02 AM

This is a great picture not only of the rover, but also of the martian terrain. It would be nice to make a print. Are NASA photo’s protected with copywrite protections against reproduction? Also, SJ I think Americans are a part of the human race, I learned that in algebra. We may represent the human race and not be the human race, and yes you are correct, I do not speak for you, not trying to be too arrogant.

jesustherational
Guest
jesustherational
November 2, 2012 8:26 PM

NASA photos belong to the public. They are a publicly funded agency and all of there work belongs to us. Go to nasa.gov and have a ball.

Tim Amato
Guest
Tim Amato
November 3, 2012 2:46 AM

Thanks for the reply. My 17X30 incher will be comming out soon! Of my printer.

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
November 2, 2012 5:27 AM
“SJ I think Americans are a part of the human race.” Of course they are. The point is they don’t speak for all of humanity, and its is arrogance to the claims that they do so is what is utterly offensive. Frankly Americans simply just don’t get this, and it is this believe is why many people beyond its shores dislike Americans so much. George Bush was right when he described non-Americans as either “For us or against us..” What he never realised nor understood was why, in that unilateralism is the true evil being perpetrated onto everyone else living in the world today. America may do a lot of good things, but it is sheer arrogance to… Read more »
Chetan Chauhan
Guest
Chetan Chauhan
November 2, 2012 9:25 AM

What the hell does this story have to do with George Bush ?
Nowhere in this story or in anyone’s comments does his name come up until you pop it out of thin air.

Note to Universe Today Admins – I think we have a genuine troll here. Bashing up people with completely half-baked up hallucinations of his own.
It seems to be the result of some sort of Inferiority complex that he is afflicted with. There must be some psychological reason for why he brings up his hatred of America with every story.

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
November 2, 2012 9:54 AM
Again. I don’t hate America, but I do dislike some of the attitudes adopted by its citizens, and some of its jingoism. I also note with great amusement, the idea of ‘freedom of speech’ so much beloved by Americans doesn’t actually apply when you do disagree with them — especially if you are beyond its shores. My reply was clearly in response to a comment made by Tim Amato, and explains my own response to the ‘offensive’ Ian McLeod’s post. A troll initiates the controversy first up. They cannot be a troll if they respond to an open question or one that wishes mere clarification. George Bush was used and his words was quoted to support my argument.… Read more »
pahles
Member
November 2, 2012 1:42 PM

How else would Chetan talk about you, when he was talking to the Admins? BTW: freedom of speech does not mean you HAVE to say everything you want, just that you CAN. A website (and comments on articles for that) is like TV. If you don’t like what you see, you can start screaming at the screen OR visit another site (change the channel). Guess what: you can even even switch it off!

Matthew Schwartz
Guest
November 2, 2012 1:19 PM

Please ban SJStar. He/she/it contributes nothing to the conversation on Universe Today, and even though I’ve been reading this blog for over a year, his/her/its presence makes me seriously consider stopping coming here. I have to zone out the virulent, arrogant, self-absorbed he/she/it posts just to be able to interact on the comments section.

Ethan Walker
Guest
Ethan Walker
November 2, 2012 1:42 PM

Seconded: someone who expresses offense at Ian’s original statement and then wrestles the discussion of this wonderful picture into an argument over imperialism is clearly an unrepentant troll. This is the behavior of someone much more interested in arguing than they are in space missions / science. Please ban.

subn00b
Guest
subn00b
November 2, 2012 5:31 AM

I think this one is nicer, with the warp correction: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16239.html

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
November 2, 2012 5:45 AM

This story isn’t “It’s amazing.” at all.

Its motives are bombastic, pompous and highly self-aggrieving; likely based or made of self-serving jingoism.

Mark Rich
Guest
Mark Rich
November 2, 2012 2:33 PM

No. 5 is alive! smile

Aqua4U
Member
November 2, 2012 4:18 PM

This image gives me a vicarious sense of actually ‘being there’! I like! THAT is just too cool! Thanks you guys! GO Curiosity!

P.S. The trenches made by the rover’s scoop look almost like alien footprints? And in fact, they kind of ARE!

David Caspuenas
Guest
November 2, 2012 5:09 PM

Just Beautiful ! Curiosity looks like a wild animal on his territory !

NoAstronomer
Member
NoAstronomer
November 2, 2012 6:08 PM

Personally I’m still stuck in the phase of amazement that it actually landed safely. Everything else is just icing.

Steve Remy
Guest
Steve Remy
November 3, 2012 2:49 PM

I must agree with you. This landing was so complex, I cannot believe landed successfully. Fantastic mission. JPL is an incredible outfit.

Rick Holcomb
Guest
November 4, 2012 11:25 AM

I, too, thought the rube goldberg landing scheme was likely to fail. The engineers kept saying: trust us; we know what we’re doing. They were right.

Brian
Guest
Brian
November 3, 2012 12:40 AM

“The instrument is mounted on the rover’s robotic arm.” Wikipedia. Will someone please point out the “arm” holding the camera? I see no connection between it and the rover.

Tim Amato
Guest
Tim Amato
November 3, 2012 4:42 AM

The final photo is a combined 55 photos. The bad stuff is taken out for better print.

Brian
Guest
Brian
November 3, 2012 11:44 AM

Thank you both!

Astrofiend
Guest
Astrofiend
November 3, 2012 4:09 PM

Stunning. But one thing I don’t get – isn’t that the robotic arm in the picture, which is the thing that has MAHLI on it? How can it possibly get any shots of itself with the arm in this position?

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