When no one’s around to snap a photo sometimes you have to hold the camera yourself. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, which is a few planets away from any living being (we think) turned its camera around to take its first self-portrait on the red planet.
The self-portrait of the Mars Rover wwas taken with its Mars Hand Lens Imager. NASA is currently testing out all of the tools that the Rover is equipped with.
Daniel Limonadi of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, told the Telegraph:
“We will be putting the arm through a range of motions and placing it at important ‘teach points’ that were established during Earth testing, such as the positions for putting sample material into the inlet ports for analytical instruments. These activities are important to get a better understanding for how the arm functions after the long cruise to Mars and in the different temperature and gravity of Mars, compared to earlier testing on Earth.”
Joy Crisp, deputy project scientist for the Curiosity Rover, added:
“We’re still learning how to use the rover. It’s such a complex machine — the learning curve is steep.”
Here’s the self-portrait of the Mars Curiosity Rover.
Now that NASA is getting used to all of the Rover’s tools, the Curiosity will start examining the rocks on the surface of the red planet.
Mike Watkins, Curiosity’s mission manager, said:
“We’ve reached a point where we want to initiate a more detailed set of arm — and the tool kit at the end of the arm — checkouts.”
According to MSNBC, the Rover will start using its drill, a scoop to collect samples, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer or APXS, to analyze soil.