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Mount Sharp photobombs Mars rover selfie

Mars’ Mount Sharp – whose flanks are the focus of the Curiosity rover’s studies on Mars – photobombed this January 2018 selfie of the rover.

View larger. | The Curiosity Mars rover appears to be looking at its own camera in this mosaic image. Behind it is Mount Sharp, photobombing the robot’s selfie. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

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.

Here’s how Curiosity acquires a selfie, without its robot arm showing

Read more about the rover’s January 2018 selfie

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

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