Planets and Moons
Curiosity Selfies, Fall 2015
The Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity has the unique ability to capture self-portraits, or selfies. Curiosity uses the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) located at the end of its robotic arm to capture sets of thumbnail images that are then stitched together to create full-color mosaics. The rover’s robotic arm is positioned out of the shot in the images, or portions of images, used to create the mosaics and therefore, is not visible.
These images show Curiosity on October 31, 2012, October 5, 2015, and August 5, 2015. The October 2012 selfie was taken when the rover was located at "Rocknest,” the spot in Gale Crater where the mission's first scoop sampling took place. The October 2015 selfie was taken nearly 3 years later, when the rover was located at the "Big Sky” site, where its drill collected the mission's fifth taste of Mount Sharp. Lastly, the August 2015 selfie was taken when the rover was located at "Buckskin” on lower Mount Sharp.
Selfies 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 shown here. For scale, the rover's wheels are 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter and about 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide. Only MAHLI (among the rover's 17 cameras) is able to image some parts of the craft, including the portside wheels.
For More Information
Please give credit for this item to: