Backyard Observatory

The Curiosity Mars Rover Snapped a Gorgeous Selfie on the Red Planet

It's like a spaghetti western out here.

mars rover selfie red planet
Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Curiosity Mars rover has sent back a new selfie from the surface of Mars. It's another gorgeous look at the Martian landscape, which Curiosity had been exploring for 2,922 Martian days at the time of this picture.

The selfie is genuinely a selfie, but it comes to us in a different way than that iPhone shot you took last night. It's actually 59 pictures stitched together by NASA imaging specialists, showcasing the rover at a location nicknamed Mary Anning, after the famous early paleontologist. The series of images were taken on October 25.

NASA scientists chose to honor Anning at this site "because of the area's potential to reveal details about the ancient environment," NASA wrote in a statement. The rover has been hanging around the Mary Anning site since July, taking drill samples and analyzing them. 

mars rover selfie image surface
Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity landed at Gale Crater in 2012 and has been ascending Mount Sharp ever since, looking for signs that the planet once supported life. Samples from Glen Torridon in Mount Sharp show that the area may have contained lakes and streams billions of years ago. The team suspects that's the reason the region holds "a high concentration of clay minerals and organic molecules."

Three samples were taken at the site named for the paleontologist who was largely unrecognized in her own time and long after. They've named those drill holes "Mary Anning 1," "Mary Anning 2," and "Groken." It takes months to study the chemistry and minerals from a sample. So, the results of what is found at the site won't be known for quite a while. Though, possibly prior to the arrival of Curiosity's new six-wheeled friend. The Perseverance rover is less than 100 days from landing on Mars.

Still, we can enjoy the vista around Curiosity that would have inspired Sergio Leone. 

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.
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