Posted Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at 4:11 PM
Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images.
The Curiosity rover exploring Mars’ surface has already sent plenty of data and images back to Earth, but its latest relay may be the coolest: A self-portrait composed of 55 different images and packed with fascinating detail.
The mosaic shows Curiosity at a point called Rocknest, in the Gale crater, where the rover has been taking soil samples. The dug-out holes are visible in the hi-res picture, along with incredible views of the rover’s intricate, dusty frame and Mars’ ragged surface.
Curiosity snapped the photos with a handheld camera mounted at the end of its extendable arm, which took images from enough angles to obscure itself in the final shot. So far, NASA has said the rover's Martian adventures have shown unidentified bright flecks in samples and surface material similar to Hawaii's sand—more data points to be analyzed to help determine if there ever was or might be life on Mars.