Curiosity Mars rover ‘photobombed’ by Mount Sharp
A recent self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the robot on Vera Rubin Ridge, which it has been exploring for several months. Directly behind the rover is the foot of a clay-rich slope Curiosity will begin climbing in the coming weeks. North is on the left of the image and west is on the right, with the rim of Gale Crater on the horizon of both edges.
Mount Sharp appears just behind Curiosity’s mast, “photobombing” the rover’s selfie. The mountain stands in the Middle of Gale Crater, which measures some 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter. The base of the mountain provides access to layers formed over millions of years. These layers formed in the presence of water and provide evidence of ancient lakes within Gale Crater.
The selfie is actually a mosaic assembled from dozen’s of taken on Jan. 23, 2017 by Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). MAHLI was built by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) which is located in San Diego, California.
Wrist motions and turret rotations on Curiosity’s arm allowed MAHLI to capture the component images of the mosaic. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images, or portions of images, that make up the mosaic. This process was used to take Curiosity self-portraits at other sample collection sites, including “Rocknest,” “Windjana,” “Buckskin,” and “Gobabeb.”
Video courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
Jim Sharkey is a lab assistant, writer and general science enthusiast who grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the hometown of Skylab and Shuttle astronaut Owen K. Garriott. As a young Star Trek fan he participated in the letter-writing campaign which resulted in the space shuttle prototype being named Enterprise. While his academic studies have ranged from psychology and archaeology to biology, he has never lost his passion for space exploration. Jim began blogging about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004. Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landing and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.