This is, without a doubt, the best photo of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. Taken on a Martian flat spot called John Klein, the image was just published by scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It looks she asked someone passing by to take her camera and shoot the picture.
In reality, the photo is a composition of multiple photos taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on February 3, 2013. According to NASA “the self-portrait was acquired to document the drilling site,” but we all know they did it because it is freaking awesome.
This is how the made the magic happen:
The rover’s robotic arm is not visible in the mosaic. MAHLI, which took the component images for this mosaic, is mounted on a turret at the end of the arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic’s component images. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images or portions of images used in the mosaic.
Clever! The result is truly outstanding. [NASA Goddard]