The human imagination isn’t bound by Earth, and there’s no better reminder of the worlds beyond our planet than a fresh selfie from Mars. NASA’s Curiosity rover is looking sharp in a snapshot shared by NASA on Thursday.
The image from Oct. 25 shows the dusty rover overlooking its handiwork: three drill holes in the area just to the left of the vehicle. Curiosity is at a location called “Mary Anning,” named for a trailblazing English paleontologist from the 1800s.
“Scientists on the Curiosity team thought it fitting to name the sampling site after Anning because of the area’s potential to reveal details about the ancient environment,” said NASA in a statement.
We got a sneak peek at the selfie from citizen scientist Kevin Gill (who describes himself as a “data wrangler” at NASA-JPL) in late October. The shot comes from Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera and is made up of multiple images stitched together into a complete picture of the rover.
There are a lot of fun tidbits to explore in this image. For starters, check out the broken rock at the far left of the formation with the holes. The rock cracked when Curiosity drilled into it. NASA shared an annotated close-up view of the drill site with the holes labeled. “Groken” is the one with the crack.
Next, take a look at Curiosity’s middle wheel and check out the cracks it’s developed from long years toiling atop the rough Martian landscape. It might look bad, but the rover is actually working just fine and NASA has figured out ways to mitigate the damage.
We also get a lovely view of Curiosity’s surroundings where it’s exploring inside the Gale Crater. If it looks a little hazy in the distance, that may be because Mars is into its dusty season when the wind whips up dust devils and the sky can turn opaque.
Curiosity’s mission of exploration continues as we wait for its sibling, the Perseverance rover, to reach Mars in February 2021. Then we can look forward to double the Mars selfies.