With all of the excitement over the Mars Perseverance rover recently touching down, NASA's Curiosity rover has been a little overshadowed. However, the Mars Curiosity rover has been traversing the red planet's surface for over eight earth years and 3,000 sols (Martian days), capturing nearly 800,000 images of the terrain and environment.
The latest image from the Curiosity rover looks as if it's snapped a selfie. Comprised of 71 different images captured by two different cameras, this panorama shows the rover in front of six meter tall rock outcrop 'Mont Mercou'.
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As reported by DP Review, this composite uses 60 photographs shot by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the rover's robotic arm, combined with 11 images captured by the Mastcam on Curiosity's 'head'. Interestingly, these two cameras shot the original photos on different days, with MAHLI capturing its images on 26 March, 2021 and the Mastcam shooting on 16 March.
This 'selfie' isn't the only image released by the Curiosity team. NASA has also published a 360º panorama made up of 126 photos that were captured on 03 March, 2021. This panorama also depicts 'Mont Mercou', which is named after a mountain in France, and has been color corrected so that the colors of the rocks resemble how they would appear in Earth daylight.
The Mars Curiosity rover originally launched from Earth on 26 November, 2011, arriving on Mars on 05 August, 2012. While its original mission was only designed last one Martian year (23 Earth months), Curiosity has continued to operate far beyond that time – and its mission has been extended indefinitely.
Hopefully we have plenty of Curiosity-shot images of Mars still to come!