In case you were worried that Curiosity had fallen into a ditch, more news has just come from the Red Planet featuring everybody’s favorite rover! It seems the robot has been taking pictures again, and word around the campfire is that it is Curiosity’s best yet! Having taken a break from its usual round of performing scientific research on soil samples and surface terrain, Curiosity took a pause to snap a self-portrait
Well, in truth, it was fifty-five photos, all of which were taken by the Rover’s hi-resolution Mars Hand Lens Imager. These photos were then combined back at Mission Control by NASA personnel to form a panoramic image that shows Curiosity at work digging holes in the sand and with Mount Sharp in the background. The area of the shoot is appropriately known as the “Rocknest” since this is where Curiosity has been for the past few months, gathering scoops of Martian soil for analysis.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the images serve an important function. According to NASA’s website, “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.” Apparently, they also ensure that Curiosity continues to function within established parameters while personnel are not at the helm.
Check out the full image below. As you can plainly see, it is high-resolution and extremely detailed.