Seasoned Travelstagramer the Mars Curiosity Rover Took This Epic Selfie Before Going to Next Locale
As you’d expect from any #travelstagram influencer worth their weight in moon rock, the Mars Curiosity Rover posted an epic selfie on social media this week to commemorate its final day working as a digital nomad on the Vera Rubin Ridge.
“Hola, amigos! How’s it going? Been a while since I rapped at ya,” Curiosity tweeted. And although the rover might want to consider hiring a consultant to help clean up its ~relatable~ language, it followed up with an off-the-chart photograph that doesn’t require any editing for effect.
After spending 16 months exploring the ridge, according to NASA’s website, Curiosity explained that it took the selfie “before heading toward an area of clay rocks that may hold more clues about the ancient lakes that helped form this part of #Mars” in the Mount Sharp region.
And for followers itching for a space selfie tutorial, the rover also included a link to a 2013 video explaining exactly how it’s done.
Like any human taking a selfie, Justin Maki, the engineering camera team lead and Mastcam deputy PI and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explained, “The rover is able to take its own picture using its robotic arm. Because the arm is 2 meters long, the rover is able to place the camera in front of itself and high above the rover deck.”
Unlike a human taking a selfie, however, the rover has 17 different cameras to chose from and a single selfie is actually a combination of dozens of different shots.
“The self-portrait appears as though it’s been taken from a single wide-angle lens camera out in front of the rover, but it’s actually a series of individual images stitched together,” Maki says. “When these images are combined, viewers no longer see the arm in any of the photos.”
So no need for a selfie stick, there.
To take this particular selfie, NASA says that Curiosity “used its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the end of its robotic arm to take a series of 57 pictures.”
Considering that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that he would be open to selling branding “to enhance the exposure of space activities in the popular culture” last August, only time will tell if and when the Curiosity Rover will strike its first endorsement deal.