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Mars NASA Space Science

Curiosity Snaps 'Arm's Length' Self Portrait 96

astroengine writes "Using its robotic arm-mounted MAHLI camera, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has snapped, quite possibly, the most iconic image to come from the mission so far. By stitching together 55 high-resolution photos, the rover has snapped an 'arm's length' self portrait, capturing its location in the geologically interesting area known as 'Rocknest,' including its recent scoop marks in the Martian soil and the base of Mt. Sharp." Note to NASA: Please sell this image in the form of a fundraising poster.
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Curiosity Snaps 'Arm's Length' Self Portrait

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:05AM (#41862995)

    I didn't know Curiosity was a teenage girl.

  • Where is the arm? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:06AM (#41862999) Journal

    Where is the arm that holds the camera?

    • Re:Where is the arm? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:07AM (#41863005) Homepage
      It's a series of images that, when stitched, conveniently exclude the arm.
      • Re:Where is the arm? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kasperd (592156) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:12AM (#41863019) Homepage Journal

        It's a series of images that, when stitched, conveniently exclude the arm.

        True, but where does the arm attach to the rover? That end of the arm must be visible on any picture taking of that part of the rover. I am curious to see the individual parts, just to figure out how that part of the rover really looks.

        • Re:Where is the arm? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Barryke (772876) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:33AM (#41863083) Homepage

          Apparently it is attached to the rover by the horizontal cylinder shaped appendix between the front wheels.

          Also google for "mars curiosity arm" theres some really nice pictures there.

        • Re:Where is the arm? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Ford Prefect (8777) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @04:30AM (#41863235) Homepage

          Top-left here [].

          (Of note - the raw images got released quite a few hours before the official stitched version did. So a bunch of amateurs including myself [] and others [] used various panorama-assembling software to assemble our own, unofficial stitched versions. Seeing Curiosity like this before pretty much everyone else was great...)

        • by tbird81 (946205)

          Take a look at the high res photo:

          In front of the corner of Curiosity closest to the camera, there's a dark grey cylinder with part faded out. Beneath, and slightly lateral to this you can see a motor which has had the top left corner diagonally cut out of it.

          The arm was attached to this area, and that why as it rotated the picture here changed. It's the only place there are any major artefacts in the image.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:13AM (#41863023) Homepage

        This thing is going to get photoshopped to hell and back again.

        Too many possibilities to ignore.

      • by Dutchmaan (442553)

        It's a series of images that, when stitched, conveniently exclude the arm.

        It seems to be excluding any shadow of any arm as well, The shadows for everything are plainly visible almost a straight down angle as if the sun is almost directly overhead... There's not even a shadow for an arm.

        • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:34AM (#41863085)

          Look again. Follow that structure straight down the middle of the image to the bottom visible wheel, see how it casts a shadow? Now follow up towards the 10 O'clock position and suddenly there's a bit of that structure with a shadow and yet nothing above it? That's the support for the camera.

        • Re:Where is the arm? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ford Prefect (8777) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @04:39AM (#41863259) Homepage

          You can see shadows from the turret on the end of the arm in a couple of the raw images []. Whoever planned the arm manoeuvres did an incredible job - not only did the arm itself almost completely disappear in final stitched versions, the images have very little parallax despite the arm very much not being a proper panoramic camera mount.

          Of note - there was a second [] set of images taken - very similar to the first, but with a small horizontal offset. Likely result? 3D versions of the panorama!

          The only thing I want now is, perhaps in a year or so, a full 360-degrees spherical panorama of the rover parked near some interesting cliffs or other geography. Go on, NASA - do it! ;-)

      • > It's a series of images that, when stitched,
        > conveniently exclude the arm.

        Good one for public relations, NASA.

        Reminds me of that scene from M*A*S*H where Father Mulcahey grows corn all year and, after harvesting, the army cook turns it into creamed corn.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A martial is holding the camera

    • Hmm, the thing on the upper left looks a bit like a camera... I think they've buried the lede: Curiosity has clearly found a big mirror on Mars!
    • It was taken by a local who, as he left, was heard muttering 'Tourists....'

    • by hey! (33014)

      Check out the image to conventional portrait [] of Curiosity in the Wikipedia entry []. You'll see there is a robotic arm mounted on the front of the rover that does not appear in the self portrait.

      If you think of the robotic arm as analogous to a human arm, it has a pair of motors at the "shoulder" (for two axes of motion), one at the "elbow" and another pair at the "wrist". In the self portrait only the "shoulder" of the arm is visible -- you can see one of the motors (which looks like a pair of stacked black

  • by vikingpower (768921) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:24AM (#41863055) Homepage Journal
    As soon as my daughter is born, I'm gonna name her Curiosity. Thereafter, our boy will be named Mars, so she can roll all over.... Oh, wait.
    • by Nyder (754090)

      As soon as my daughter is born, I'm gonna name her Curiosity. Thereafter, our boy will be named Mars, so she can roll all over.... Oh, wait.

      Families that play together, stay together...

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:25AM (#41863057) Journal

    To the Mars natives, Curiosity is known as the "Rocknest Monster"

    • at least 2 large green men were heard uttering "this was not born here. can you find its manufacturing certificate, anywhere? there's only the short panel of text on the side, we need to see the longer version."

      yes, 'doubters' on mars are really big and heavy.

      that's why we call them girthers.

    • by guttentag (313541)
      NASA figured out that the surest way to meet some easy Martians is to post an arm's-length photo of yourself on

      New In Town!
      Self-sufficient adventurous type seeks casual encounters. I've been out on my own for a while now, have a serious, analytical side, but a warm heart. I still write home to my parents every day. Would love to send them photos of me with my new friends. Don't be shy! I don't bite -- I just vaporize little rocks out of curiosity.
      --Rocknest Monster

    • This was one of the links at the bottom of the OP article. It is a pretty funny look at some unrealistic dreams of going to Mars [].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:36AM (#41863091)

    5463 x 7595 pixels (width x height) []

    Original Caption Released with Image:

            On Sol 84 (Oct. 31, 2012), NASA's Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture this set of 55 high-resolution images, which were stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait.

            The mosaic shows the rover at "Rocknest," the spot in Gale Crater where the mission's first scoop sampling took place. Four scoop scars can be seen in the regolith in front of the rover.

            The base of Gale Crater's 3-mile-high (5-kilometer) sedimentary mountain, Mount Sharp, rises on the right side of the frame. Mountains in the background to the left are the northern wall of Gale Crater. The Martian landscape appears inverted within the round, reflective ChemCam instrument at the top of the rover's mast.

            Self-portraits like this one document the state of the rover and allow mission engineers to track changes over time, such as dust accumulation and wheel wear. Due to its location on the end of the robotic arm, only MAHLI (among the rover's 17 cameras) is able to image some parts of the craft, including the port-side wheels.

            This high-resolution mosaic is a more detailed version of the low-resolution version created with thumbnail images, at PIA16238.

            JPL manages the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

            For more about NASA's Curiosity mission, visit:,, and
    Image Credit:
            NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

    Image Addition Date:

  • but it looks like it could be any arid/desert landscape on Earth.

    And no I'm not suggesting conspiracy. :)

  • Note to Slashdot (Score:5, Informative)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @04:38AM (#41863253) Journal

    Please don't don't try to 'sell' page hits. Use the source []...

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Why not?

      • I'd rather not have my bandwidth and CPU cycles consumed by advertising, which also clogs the tubes all around the internet. It causes my music streaming to break up and slows down my torrents.

        • by fm6 (162816)

          I agree that it's better to link a primary source rather than some watered-down news site or blog. But I don't see them selling links here, just not bothering to track down the original source. Slashdot editors barely even read the submissions they post, never mind editing them for commercial purposes.

  • ... when it finds the cat
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gotta love how no efforts to pretty it up ends up making it look really cool.

  • Is there a higher resolution available somewhere? I want to use it on my desktop.

  • No duckface.

  • Glad to see NASA is not wasting one precious moment of this things limited lifespan on non mission critical tasks. Your tax dollars at work spending hours for scientist to send data to and from the thing and you get a facebook pose in return.

  • Notice how the picture is 4:2.87 instead of 4:3 and how it looks cropped on the left side.
  • Are they...em...footprints?!

  • Cool. Now if there's some way to get Spirit, Opportunity and Pathfinder together, it can take a group photo and send a postcard to Earth.
  • What are the scientists doing? Donuts on Mars?

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux