NASA’s Curiosity Rover has snapped panoramic selfies of itself on Mars at an area from which it was sent to drill into a rock called Buckskin on lower Mount Sharp. The picture posted here was clicked by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) attached to its 2-meter long robotic arm, on August 5. This date marked the 1065th Martian day of the rover’s work on the red planet.
The Curiosity Mars Rover is loaded with 17 cameras, the most number carried by any of NASA’s planetary missions. The newest self-portrait of the rover is taken from a low angle, which is why you can see a part of the belly of the machine too. You’re probably wondering who took the selfie since you can’t spot the robotic arm holding out the camera.
Just like in a normal panoramic photograph, the above selfie was constructed by stitching together individual shots taken by the MAHLI from the Buckskin site. Only a portion of the arm holding it is visible. The robotic appendage used a series of wrist actions and turret rotations to take photos of the Curiosity Rover.
Hence it was positioned outside the frame in each picture, as explained by NASA. This is why you cannot see the arm in the image. So rest assured, no alien being was involved in the shooting of the self-portrait. For those with continued doubts, the shadow of the robotic arm is still visible in the final panoramic photo.
Watch Justin Maki, Engineering Camera Team Lead, MastCam Deputy PI, talk about how the NASA Curiosity Mars Rover manages to click selfies and other photographs of the red planet. He also provides some interesting insights into the whole network of cameras mounted on the machine.