NASA released this self-portrait of its Curiosity rover on January 31, 2018. This selfie of the rover is actually assembled from dozens of images taken by Curiosity’s Mars Hands Lens Imager (MAHLI). The imager acquired all of these shots on January 23, 2018, during Sol 1943. NASA said it:
… shows the vehicle on Vera Rubin Ridge, which it’s been investigating for the past several months. Directly behind the rover is the start of a clay-rich slope scientists are eager to begin exploring. In the coming week, Curiosity will begin to climb this slope. North is on the left and west is on the right, with Gale Crater’s rim on the horizon of both edges.
Poking up just behind Curiosity’s mast is Mount Sharp, photobombing the robot’s selfie. Curiosity landed on Mars five years ago with the intention of studying lower Mount Sharp, where it will remain for all of its time on Mars. The mountain’s base provides access to layers formed over millions of years. These layers formed in the presence of water — likely due to a lake or lakes that sat at the bottom of the mountain, which sits inside Gale Crater.
For news about other Mars missions this month, view the first episode of a new video series, The Mars Report.
Bottom line: Mars’ Mount Sharp – whose flanks are the focus of the Curiosity rover’s studies on Mars – photobombed this January 2018 selfie of the rover.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.