Curiosity Mars rover snaps a selfie

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, pausing in its exploration of the red planet, snapped a selfie on the side of Mount Sharp, showing the floor of Gayle Crater below and the upper reaches of the 5.5-kilometer-high (3.4-mile-high ) mountain above. By studying changes in the rock record as Curiosity moves from the ancient floor of the crater up the side of Mount Sharp into younger terrain, scientists hope to get a better understanding how – and when – Mars transitioned from a warmer, wetter world to the frigid desert planet seen today.

Curiosity is currently perched on a ridge named after U.S. astronomer Vera Rubin. The selfie was assembled from dozens of images captured by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, camera, on the end of the spacecraft’s robot arm.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover snapped this self portrait while parked on the side of Mount Sharp at the heart of Gayle Crater. Image: NASA