A martian year
This was the most recent “#selfie” taken by the Curiosity rover while at the Kimberley location a few weeks ago. The rover takes pictures like this using the MAHLI tool on its arm; the Mars Hand Lens Imager.
The Rover takes a photo like this by moving its arm in a pattern with the imager pointing back towards the craft; because the camera is on its arm, the arm itself doesn’t fully appear in this shot.
Anyway, this image is being posted here because it seems like the best way to celebrate a birthday. As of today, June 24, the rover will have been on the surface of Mars for 1 orbit of the planet Mars around the sun; it’s survived a martian year.
The rover is still on its way to its final destination on the slopes of Mt. Sharp, and it has had some rough riding (its wheels have taken a beating, for example), but it is already safe to say that it accomplished its mission. It went to Mars looking for evidence of long-lived bodies of fresh water, like lakes, that could possibly have once been habitable. It found that within its first few months on the surface. The mission has already been a success and every time it finds something new, scientists spend months trying to piece together what that tells us about a truly incredible world; a planet with geologic evidence of habitable conditions early in its history.
Earth had habitable environments early in its history, but most of the evidence of those environments have been destroyed by geologic processes. On Mars right now, the Curiosity rover is studying the kind of geologic story we only wish we could study on Earth.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech
I held my breath
Until vibrations overtook me.
I laid down
Closed my eyes
And saw everything.
I saw everything, and it was beautiful.