This week’s Astro Art of the Week is one of my favorite creations from my pal Stuart Atkinson, and it is a picture that never happened. Oh, the Opportunity rover did take a picture of its crumpled backshell on the surface of Mars, as seen above. But look closer: Stuart has added a reflection of the rover in the shiny metal — a self-portrait that could have been taken had the rover come close enough. Stuart writes on his blog Cumbrian Skies:
“My favourite “picture that never was” is a self-portrait of Oppy that she could… possibly… perhaps… maybe… have taken as she rolled around the edge of Endurance Crater, some 350 days after landing on Mars. How cool would that have been?!?! A picture of a Mars rover taken BY a Mars rover! Okay, so it would have been a bit distorted, and blurry, but still, what a picture it would have been. A killer image to be sure. I remember thinking at the time “Go on, take the picture, it’ll be amazing! It’ll be EVERYWHERE!”, and being very frustrated and disappointed when they didn’t.
“But I can understand why they didn’t risk it. If I was in charge of a mega-expensive Mars rover, just 350 days into its mission, I wouldn’t have been too keen to drive it into a veritable minefield of bits of metal that could have got stuck in its wheels, snagged cables or worse. No, they absolutely did the right thing. But still… all these years later I can’t help wondering what that picture would have turned out like… Maybe something like this…”
Thanks Stu, for sharing your image!
And remember, we’re still looking for a good name for this new feature of using space or astronomy images created with digital image editing software, so submit suggestions in the comments. And if you like to fool around with image editing, consider submitting one of your own. Submit them to Nancy here.