Curiosity Mars rover takes stunning selfie during record climb
Washington: NASA's Curiosity Mars rover recently set a record for the steepest terrain it's ever climbed and in the process, took a selfie, capturing the scene just below 'Greenheugh pediment which is a broad sheet of rock that sits atop a hill.
In front of the rover is a hole it drilled while sampling a bedrock target called "Hutton."
The entire selfie is a 360-degree panorama stitched together from 86 images relayed to Earth, NASA said in a statement on Saturday.
The selfie captures the rover about 11 feet below the point where it climbed onto the crumbling pediment.
Since 2014, Curiosity has been rolling up Mount Sharp, a five-km tail mountain at the center of Gale Crater.
"Rover operators at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California carefully map out each drive to make sure Curiosity will be safe," said NASA.
Before the climb, Curiosity used the black-and-white Navigation Cameras located on its mast to, for the first time, record a short movie of its "selfie stick," otherwise known as its robotic arm.
"We get asked so often how Curiosity takes a selfie," said Doug Ellison, a Curiosity camera operator at JPL. "We thought the best way to explain it would be to let the rover show everyone from its own point of view just how it's done".
Curiosity's mission is to study whether the Martian environment could have supported microbial life billions of years ago.