Skip to main content

Curiosity’s new selfie a reminder that the plucky rover is still busy on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover is back in the spotlight after the space agency shared a recent selfie snapped by the veteran Mars explorer.

While NASA’s newer, more advanced Perseverance rover tends to get all the attention these days, Curiosity, which landed on the martian surface in 2012, continues to investigate the faraway planet in a bid to learn more about the distance location.

The latest image (below) beamed to Earth by Curiosity shows the plucky rover some way in front of the Greenheugh Pediment rock structure, while the landform viewable in the middle distance on the right is called Rafael Navarro Mountain.

According to NASA, Curiosity is now making for Maria Gordon Notch, the U-shaped opening behind the rover to the left.

NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars.

NASA’s Curiosity rover took the ultrawide image using the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, located at the end of its robotic arm, which doubled as a selfie stick.

The picture is actually made up of 81 separate images taken in a way that enabled Curiosity’s arm to stay out of shot, giving it the appearance of standing alone.

Explaining how it achieves the effect, NASA said the process begins with the rover’s arm using various wrist motions and turret rotations to enable MAHLI to capture all of the component images. Having so many pictures taken from slightly different angles allows for the creation of a carefully stitched selfie in which appearances of the arm are eliminated by overlapping some of the images.

NASA also posted a cropped version of the selfie that offers a clearer look at its 9-year-old rover.

NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars.

Curiosity is working in a location around 2,300 miles (3,700 km) from Perseverance, which landed in Mars’ Jezero Crater in February 2021.

Still in full working order, Curiosity has been spending its time carrying out a range of missions while also sending back incredible images for earthlings to enjoy.

Its discoveries to date include evidence that persistent liquid water once existed on Mars’ surface, and that the planet once had the right conditions to support living microbes. Perseverance is continuing this work and searching for evidence of ancient microbial life.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
See the passing of a day on Mars with the Curiosity rover
Curiosity rover

While many of us are on vacation this week between Christmas and New Year, the Curiosity rover on Mars is getting back to work after taking time off last month. In November, NASA's Mars missions paused for two weeks during an event called the Mars solar conjunction, when the sun is directly between Earth and Mars.

That means that any communications signals passing between the two planets would have to pass close to the harsh solar environment, where they would likely be degraded. To avoid any risk of garbled communications sending dangerous signals to the rovers, NASA stopped sending commands to both its Curiosity and Perseverance rovers until the solar conjunction passed.

Read more
NASA’s Mars helicopter is about to attempt a colossal flight
NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter acquired this image using its navigation camera. This camera is mounted in the helicopter's fuselage and pointed directly downward to track the ground during flight. This image was acquired on Oct. 24, 2021 (Sol 241 of the Perseverance rover mission) at the local mean solar time of 12:34:15.

NASA’s Mars helicopter is attempting its longest-ever flight this weekend. In fact, if you’re reading this on Sunday, the Ingenuity aircraft could be zipping across the martian surface at this very same moment.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will confirm the success of the flight just as soon as all of the data has come in.

Read more
NASA’s Mars helicopter still working fine after month-long break
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter.

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has taken to the skies again following a month-long break in communications with Earth.

The drone-like flying machine flew for 393 meters and stayed in the air for more than two minutes. Showing no signs of trouble following its extended period on the ground, the helicopter also reached an altitude of 39 feet (11.9 meters) and hit a top speed of 11.9 mph (5,4 meters per second).

Read more