On Halloween 2012, aback bodies were accumulating their apparel and candy, the Mars Curiosity departer was accumulating article absolutely spectacular: a jaw-dropping high-definition self-portrait that has to be apparent to be believed:
[Click to enjohnny5enate. And yes, oh my yes, you appetite to.]
This absurd account is a circuitous fabricated up of 55 hi-res images taken by the MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager. That’s a camera advised to be able to booty close-up shots of adjacent rocks and added feature, but can additionally focus all the way out to infinity, acceptance it to booty pictures of abroad bounded appearance as well.
Or, in this case, itself! Now get this: MAHLI is amid at the end of the two-meter automatic arm. That was continued and again aimed aback at the departer so it could booty the pictures (think of every Facebook pic you’ve apparent of affair revelers captivation a camera up and demography a snapshot of themselves). So why don’t you see the arm in these shots? It’s because it was edited out! The camera took several pictures which overlapped. So you’d get two shots of, say, the capital anatomy of the rover, anniversary with the arm blocking a altered allotment of the rover’s body. By accumulation the genitalia of anniversary account that don’t appearance the arm, you can adapt it out of the final product. [UPDATE: What I said is technically possible, but not in actuality what happened! Emily Lakdawalla has – haha – the beat on this.]
In the end, you’re larboard with a aboriginal (if somewhat distorted) appearance of the departer as if you were continuing there. And there’s so abundant added than aloof the rover! The rocks and bank accoutrement the ground, the caster footstep prints in the surface, the baby apparent the departer sits on. And you can see the layered hills in the distance; those acceleration up to become the axial aiguille of Gale Crater, Curiosity’s home… and additionally the rover’s closing destination. Remember, it’s a rover. It roves.
Pictures like this additionally let engineers appraise the rover’s status. They can attending over the altered genitalia and accomplish abiding everything’s OK, and additionally use it as a baseline in case article goes amiss later. It’s far added than aloof a appealing picture.
But oh my, it’s such a appealing picture!
You can get added advice at Universe Today, and Emily Lakdawalla at The Planetary Society Blog credibility out some fun being to attending for in the shot, too.
And, I suppose, the appellation of this column is somewhat misleading. It may attending like Curiosity is sitting on a albino bank somewhere, demography its own “Wish you were here!” picture. But in reality, it’s no vacation. Curiosity is there to work. And it has aloof two Earth years to break a few billion years of Martian history.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
– Pew! Pew! Booty *that*, Mars!– Now you will feel the firepower of a absolutely armed and operational Mars rover– Wheels on Mars– One baby footstep for Curiosity, one behemothic bound for roverkind– Curiosity looks Sharp– Gallery – Curiosity’s boastful aboriginal anniversary on Mars
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