Mars Rover Snaps First Profile Picture
Anyone who’s taken his or her own picture for a Facebook profile page will know how tricky it is to do what NASA’s Curiosity rover just did: It turned one of its 17 cameras around on itself and took a snapshot of its very own “face on Mars.”
The picture, which was sent down from Mars just a few hours ago, comes from the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, a camera mounted on the end of Curiosity’s jointed, 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) robotic arm. The top of the rover’s mast — the face — is front and center, with the Martian horizon in the far background.
The biggest “eye” on the face is the lens for the ChemCam instrument, which can shoot out a laser beam to vaporize rock and read the chemical signature contained in the resulting flash of light. Two square eyes below the big lens represent the two cameras of the color Mastcam imaging system. Four smaller round eyes, two on each side, are the high-resolution, black-and-white Navcam imagers.