Curiosity’s First “Selfie” of 2015
Here’s a “selfie” of NASA’s Curiosity rover, made from about 20 images acquired by its MAHLI instrument on mission sol 868 (January 14, 2015). I used Photoshop to stitch the raw images together and then enhanced the contrast and detail with a bit of HDR effect. (There’s one spot behind the rover’s RTG where an image wasn’t available.)
How did Curiosity take this image (well, these images) you ask?
While its Mastcam cameras are on the rover’s head (looking an awful lot like eyes) its MAHLI Mars Hand Lens Imager camera is mounted at the end of a movable turret arm with several other tools. It can be positioned to look closely at a target on the ground or held up high to take images looking back at the rover itself. (See the video below.) You could say that NASA invented the selfie stick!
Curiosity is currently in the “Pahrump Hills” region of Gale Crater, approaching the foothills of Mt. Sharp (Aeolis Mons).
Update: the image below from NASA shows a full view of the area, called the Mojave site (not to be confused with the Mojave desert in California!) The name actually refers to a small spot where Curiosity is drilling the surface rock for samples. Click here to see an annotated version showing the names of various features of investigation. (Source)
So if you’re still wondering how Curiosity takes its own picture that looks like it’s from another perspective, watch this video: