Curiosity snapped this picture just before heading for its next scout location: a U-shaped mountain pass.

Mars rover Curiosity regularly captures itself and its beautiful surroundings. And now the rolling Mars rover has taken another great selfie. The image below shows the rover showing off in the middle of the rocky Martian landscape.

The Curiosity selfie in wide angle. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


Curiosity took this 360-degree selfie using the Mars Hand Lens Imager; one of the seventeen cameras that the Mars rover is equipped with. The Mars Hand Lens Imager is located at the end of his robotic arm. The selfie is composed of no fewer than 81 photos and was taken on the 3,303rd Mars day of the mission.

The same selfie, but zoomed in more. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Not only can the Mars rover be recognized in the photo, its rocky environment has also been immortalized. Behind Curiosity looms Greenheugh Fronton; a slope with a sandstone cap that the rover has climbed briefly before. The steep hill on the right is Rafael Navarro Mountain, named after a Curiosity scientist who passed away earlier this year. Curiosity now heads to Maria Gordon Notch; The U-shaped mountain pass that we see in the photo on the left side of the rover.

How does Curiosity take a selfie?
You might be wondering how Curiosity manages to take a selfie. Because you can’t see the robot arm in the photo. It is easy to explain that we do not see that arm in the photo. As mentioned, the selfie is basically a mosaic consisting of 81 photos. It was decided to use (parts of) photos that do not contain the robot arm. Curious how this works? Then watch the video below.


Incidentally, Curiosity does more than just photograph the spectacular Martian landscape and itself. The Mars rover also regularly conducts scientific research. Curiosity can analyze the chemical composition of rock. He does this by pulverizing it with his brought drill and then taking the samples in a small laboratory that he carries in his ‘tummy’. Here are 74 small cups used to test samples. Most cups function as ovens that heat the samples. In that way, Curiosity hopes to find certain chemicals that could provide clues about what the climate looked like on Mars billions of years ago, when the planet was a lot kinder to microbial life than it is now.

Curiosity has been traversing Gale Crater since its landing in 2012; a 154 kilometer wide basin, formed by an ancient impact. And the rover already has a lot of miles in its legs. Do you want to know where the Mars rover has already been? Check it out this interactive map and follow Curiosity’s path closely! And make no mistake, although the Mars rover’s route may seem a little errant, the Curiosity team never loses sight of its primary goal: to explore places that reveal whether Gale Crater was ever habitable in the distant past…