Feedback
Science
photo

Curiosity Rover Snaps Selfie to Celebrate First Martian Year

Image: Curiosity self-portrait

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover used the camera at the end of its arm in April and May 2014 to take dozens of component images combined into this self-portrait where the rover drilled into a sandstone target called "Windjana." The rover left Windjana in mid-May and is advancing westward toward Mount Sharp.NASA

The latest selfie from NASA's Curiosity rover marks the "Marsiversary" of the robot's landing on Mars. By Earth's reckoning, that landing happened almost two years ago — 687 days, which equals one Martian year.

The six-wheeled, nuclear-powered rover has done a lot since its touchdown on Aug. 5, 2012, including studies that determined its stomping grounds were once potentially habitable for Earth-type organisms. But there's lots more to do, including a climb up the foothills of Mount Sharp, also known as Aeolis Mons.

Sign up for Science news delivered to your inbox

The rover was originally slated for a mission lasting just one Martian year, but the mission already has been extended for as long as its battered wheels can keep going.

Curiosity snaps its selfies by sticking out its robotic arm, turning the camera on the end of the arm toward itself and taking lots of pictures. The images are stitched together to create a mosaic — but because of the way they were taken, the robotic arm never appears in the picture.

This selfie shows a couple of the holes that Curiosity drilled in a rock nicknamed Windjana. For more of Curiosity's self-portraits, check out this wide-angle shot from April, and a couple of selfies from more than a year ago. More than an Earth year ago, that is.