NASA offers a dizzying Martian rover selfie

Curiosity’s 360-degree selfie consists of 81 images taken in November 2021.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

It’s time for a love festival on Mars. NASA’s curiosity has blessed us with a new selfie and it’s as much about the red planet landscape as it is about the rover.

The image, released by NASA this week, shows the rover in the center with a stunning series of surrounding rocks. The 360-degree selfie is made up of 81 images taken on November 20 by Mars Hand Lens Imager at the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm.

The mosaic approach gives us an unusual perspective, as if the earth curled around the rover. I imagine that if I visited Mars, I would keep my arms outstretched and return very quickly to one place, it would look like this.

Curiosity is exploring the crater of Gale on a mission to understand if Mars could have once been habitable for microbial life. There are some notable landmarks in the selfie. The rock structure behind the rover is called the Greenheugh Fronton. A hill on the right is named Rafael Navarro Mountain for Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez, a Curiosity astrobiologist who died earlier this year.

Another important place is a U-shaped opening behind and to the left of the rover. Curiosity will move in this direction as it continues its explorations.

Meanwhile, Brother Curiosity’s rover Perseverance is collecting rock samples in another crater and China’s Zhurong rover remains active, giving mankind a trio of wheeled vehicles that send back geological and atmospheric data. And beautiful selfies to feed our sense of amazement.