2:48pm

Thu December 27, 2012
The Picture Show

The Mars Rover Takes A Selfie

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:45 pm

Who hasn't turned a camera around at arm's length to snap a picture to send to friends or family? It always seems like it takes a few tries to frame the shot just right to capture both you and that awesome mountain summit behind you.

But if you're the small SUV-size robot named Curiosity that's trolling around on the surface of Mars finding signs of water and sniffing for methane, you don't seem to have that trouble.

NASA just released a beautiful self-portrait of the rover, taken on the 84th and 85th days of Curiosity's mission to Mars — Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The composite image, assembled from dozens of images from the Mars Hand Lens Imager aboard the rover, shows the rover at "Rocknest," where Curiosity took its first samples of the Martian soil. (You can see four scoops near the center of the frame.)

NASA writes that "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." (And if you're curious about how the rover took this self-portrait, there's an animation over at NASA.gov.)

Seems more like a "wish you were here" postcard.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.