Just as teens hold up their cellphones to snap a Myspace-worthy photo, the Mars Science Laboratory rover has taken its own self-portrait: a mosaic of images taken as the rover looks down from its navigation cameras, located high up in the robot’s mast.
The rover, nicknamed Curiosity, has also used its Mast Camera to send back a lower-resolution 360-degree color panorama of its surroundings in the landing site in Gale Crater.
“We built the thing and we touched it with our hands here, and now it’s on Mars,” said mission manager Michael Watkins. “So it’s fascinating to look back and see our rover again.”
The images, each stitched together from multiple photos, serve as proof that the rover’s cameras are alive and working.
The self-portrait also shows almost marble-sized pebbles scattered over the body of the rover – detritus probably kicked up as Curiosity landed, which wasn’t expected but should pose no risk to the instruments on board, scientists said.
-- Los Angeles Times
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