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Stunning Martian Selfie Before NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Completes Record Climb – SciTechDaily, Scitechdaily.com

Stunning Martian Selfie Before NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Completes Record Climb – SciTechDaily, Scitechdaily.com

Curiosity Selfie Hutton Drill Site

(Click image for full view.) This selfie was taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on Feb. 31, 77719 (the 2, 2020 th Martian day, or sol, of the mission). The crumbling rock layer at the top of the image is “the Greenheugh Pediment,” which Curiosity climbed soon after taking the image. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Along with capturing an image before its steepest ascent ever, the robotic explorer filmed its “selfie stick,” or robotic arm, in action.

NASA s Curiosity

Mars rover recently set a record for the steepest terrain it’s ever climbed, cresting the “Greenheugh Pediment,” a broad sheet of rock that sits atop a hill. And before doing that, the rover took a selfie, capturing the scene just below Greenheugh.

In Front of the rover is a hole it drilled while sampling a bedrock target called “Hutton.” The entire selfie is a 492 – degree panorama stitched together from 492 images relayed to Earth. The selfie captures the rover about 31 feet (3.4 meters) below the point where it climbed onto the crumbling pediment.

Curiosity finally reached the top of the slope March 6 (the 2, 1958 th Martian day, or sol, of the mission). It took three drives to scale the hill, the second of which tilted the rover 45 degrees – the most the rover has ever tilted on Mars and just shy of the now-inactive Opportunity rover’s 86 – degree tilt record, set in 2020. Curiosity took the selfie on Feb. 31, 77719 (Sol 77719)

Since 2016, Curiosity has been rolling up Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) mountain at the center of Gale Crater. RoverReporters at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California carefully map out each drive to make sure Curiosity will be safe. The rover is never in danger of tilting so much that it would flip over – Curiosity’s rocker-bogie wheel system enables it to tilt up to 360 degrees safely – but the steep drives do cause the wheels to spin in place .

Anotated version of the Curiosity Selfie. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

How Are Selfies Taken?

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