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Curiosity Snaps 'Arm's Length' Self Portrait

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the pleased-to-meet-me dept.

Mars 96

astroengine writes "Using its robotic arm-mounted MAHLI camera, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has snapped, quite possibly, the most iconic image to come from the mission so far. By stitching together 55 high-resolution photos, the rover has snapped an 'arm's length' self portrait, capturing its location in the geologically interesting area known as 'Rocknest,' including its recent scoop marks in the Martian soil and the base of Mt. Sharp." Note to NASA: Please sell this image in the form of a fundraising poster.

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96 comments

That's strange (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41862995)

I didn't know Curiosity was a teenage girl.

Re:That's strange (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863041)

"Self shot and BOT!"

Re:That's strange (3, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863143)

I knew it... they have mirrors on Mars!

Re:That's strange (4, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863067)

Just needs the duck lips.

Re:That's strange (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864103)

And some more exposed circuitry.

Re:That's strange (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864797)

Some more eyeshadow and it'd be great on myspace

Re:That's strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41864145)

and an update to her facebook profile [facebook.com] .

Re:That's strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41865915)

CTRL+F: "duck"
Not disappointed.
Standard facebook shot angle: yep

Re:That's strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863081)

Had trouble doing duck lips, too.

Re:That's strange (0)

LeopardMechanic (2732551) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864593)

There's no arm holding a camera...PROOF that it's in the Arizona desert not on Mars. How stupid do they think we are?

Re:That's strange (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41864725)

Like many of these kinds of shots, it was done in the bathroom mirror. You can clearly see the camera in the shot.

Where is the arm? (5, Insightful)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about a year and a half ago | (#41862999)

Where is the arm that holds the camera?

Re:Where is the arm? (5, Interesting)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863005)

It's a series of images that, when stitched, conveniently exclude the arm.

Re:Where is the arm? (5, Interesting)

kasperd (592156) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863019)

It's a series of images that, when stitched, conveniently exclude the arm.

True, but where does the arm attach to the rover? That end of the arm must be visible on any picture taking of that part of the rover. I am curious to see the individual parts, just to figure out how that part of the rover really looks.

Re:Where is the arm? (5, Informative)

Barryke (772876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863083)

Apparently it is attached to the rover by the horizontal cylinder shaped appendix between the front wheels.
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/uploads/RTEmagicC_Msl-arm.jpg.jpg [thenakedscientists.com]

Also google for "mars curiosity arm" theres some really nice pictures there.

Re:Where is the arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863227)

Apparently it is attached to the rover by the horizontal cylinder shaped appendix between the front wheels.

Damn! Curiosity is sure hung well!

Re:Where is the arm? (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863273)

Those engineers made sure that anyone discovering the rover would understand the human race. It's all about the penis.

Re:Where is the arm? (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863941)

there's a lot of exposed wiring and cabling. is that really the best way to do this? I would have thought that it would be safer to at least enclose in tubing or put the wiring inside hollowed out areas of the arm.

scrap that against a rock or have some rocks tumble on you and you lose wires.

am I missing some great wisdom here? or are those exposed wires a liability waiting to happen?

Re:Where is the arm? (3, Insightful)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864761)

I'd imagine you have several possible problems:

1. The protective casing breaks off. No different from laptops - what are the first parts to break? The small fiddly plastic bits like hinge covers, plastic connectors.

2. If an electrical circuit breaks or has a short circuit, how do you know where exactly if it is concealed by tubes and covers?

3. The extra casing would add more weight to the robot.

Normally, things like satellites get covered in layers of insulation, gold foil and shielding, but that is due to radiation and extreme temperature change.

Re:Where is the arm? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864771)

1. Weight.
2. Weight.
3. Complexity
4. Weight.

It's not like they're scraping the sides of Hell's Canyon in this thing. Nobody is careening into rock walls. I'm sure this was debated at length in engineering meetings. If you cover everything, then you can't see it (duh). Visual inspection is one of the strong points of the Rover so by making everything all aerodynamic you potentially cover a lot of useful information.

Besides, it looks cool this way. Very geeky.

Re:Where is the arm? (5, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863235)

Top-left here [nasa.gov] .

(Of note - the raw images got released quite a few hours before the official stitched version did. So a bunch of amateurs including myself [hylobatidae.org] and others [unmannedspaceflight.com] used various panorama-assembling software to assemble our own, unofficial stitched versions. Seeing Curiosity like this before pretty much everyone else was great...)

Re:Where is the arm? (3, Informative)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863355)

Top-left here [nasa.gov] .

Thanks! Now I see that the arm has indeed been removed by using other photos. And also in this place on the stiched photo there is a small inconsitency.

Re:Where is the arm? (2)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868257)

Wondering what else I could do with the stuff I assembled in Hugin, I put together a quick interactive version of the panorama [hylobatidae.org] . Requires a recent browser with WebGL support - uses the open-source Pannellum [bitbucket.org] as the viewer.

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about a year and a half ago | (#41872569)

Awesome! Thanks :)

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867527)

Take a look at the high res photo:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA16239.jpg [nasa.gov]

In front of the corner of Curiosity closest to the camera, there's a dark grey cylinder with part faded out. Beneath, and slightly lateral to this you can see a motor which has had the top left corner diagonally cut out of it.

The arm was attached to this area, and that why as it rotated the picture here changed. It's the only place there are any major artefacts in the image.

Re:Where is the arm? (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863023)

This thing is going to get photoshopped to hell and back again.

Too many possibilities to ignore.

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#41866447)

I'm waiting for the one with Marvin [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869729)

Yay, a new meme!

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863061)

It's a series of images that, when stitched, conveniently exclude the arm.

It seems to be excluding any shadow of any arm as well, The shadows for everything are plainly visible almost a straight down angle as if the sun is almost directly overhead... There's not even a shadow for an arm.

Re:Where is the arm? (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863085)

Look again. Follow that structure straight down the middle of the image to the bottom visible wheel, see how it casts a shadow? Now follow up towards the 10 O'clock position and suddenly there's a bit of that structure with a shadow and yet nothing above it? That's the support for the camera.

Re:Where is the arm? (4, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863259)

You can see shadows from the turret on the end of the arm in a couple of the raw images [nasa.gov] . Whoever planned the arm manoeuvres did an incredible job - not only did the arm itself almost completely disappear in final stitched versions, the images have very little parallax despite the arm very much not being a proper panoramic camera mount.

Of note - there was a second [nasa.gov] set of images taken - very similar to the first, but with a small horizontal offset. Likely result? 3D versions of the panorama!

The only thing I want now is, perhaps in a year or so, a full 360-degrees spherical panorama of the rover parked near some interesting cliffs or other geography. Go on, NASA - do it! ;-)

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864179)

> It's a series of images that, when stitched,
> conveniently exclude the arm.

Good one for public relations, NASA.

Reminds me of that scene from M*A*S*H where Father Mulcahey grows corn all year and, after harvesting, the army cook turns it into creamed corn.

Re:Where is the arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867329)

Someone should make an iOS app which also does this ---- $$$ profit

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863015)

A martial is holding the camera

Re:Where is the arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863189)

and those foot steps on the left side of foot belongs to that 'martian' ?

Re:Where is the arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863587)

Taking photos of tourists at their request? Not what I would call martial, unless you're referring to the Spanish poet.

Re:Where is the arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863199)

It photographed itself in its bathroom mirror. That's why it's naked.

d'uh!

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

steppedleader (2490064) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863281)

Hmm, the thing on the upper left looks a bit like a camera... I think they've buried the lede: Curiosity has clearly found a big mirror on Mars!

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864815)

It was taken by a local who, as he left, was heard muttering 'Tourists....'

Re:Where is the arm? (1)

hey! (33014) | about a year and a half ago | (#41866145)

Check out the image to conventional portrait [wikimedia.org] of Curiosity in the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] . You'll see there is a robotic arm mounted on the front of the rover that does not appear in the self portrait.

If you think of the robotic arm as analogous to a human arm, it has a pair of motors at the "shoulder" (for two axes of motion), one at the "elbow" and another pair at the "wrist". In the self portrait only the "shoulder" of the arm is visible -- you can see one of the motors (which looks like a pair of stacked black cylinders) adjacent to the nearest wheel at roughly the ten o'clock position. The arm itself would be on the other side of the joint from that motor, but it is replaced in the composite shot by a picture of the ground behind where it would be taken when the arm was in a different position.

It took a clever bit of planning to make this image.

Looks all computer generated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863035)

What's really on Mars? Tell us the truth NASA!!!!

Hot, hot, hot (2, Funny)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863055)

As soon as my daughter is born, I'm gonna name her Curiosity. Thereafter, our boy will be named Mars, so she can roll all over.... Oh, wait.

Re:Hot, hot, hot (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863731)

As soon as my daughter is born, I'm gonna name her Curiosity. Thereafter, our boy will be named Mars, so she can roll all over.... Oh, wait.

Families that play together, stay together...

Re:Hot, hot, hot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41864757)

Be careful, Curiosity might be bi-curious and roll over your other daughter Venus too.

What a co-incidence!!! (5, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863057)

To the Mars natives, Curiosity is known as the "Rocknest Monster"

Re:What a co-incidence!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863641)

To the Mars natives, Curiosity is known as the "Rocknest Monster"

I need about treefiddy.

Re:What a co-incidence!!! (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863961)

at least 2 large green men were heard uttering "this was not born here. can you find its manufacturing certificate, anywhere? there's only the short panel of text on the side, we need to see the longer version."

yes, 'doubters' on mars are really big and heavy.

that's why we call them girthers.

Re:What a co-incidence!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41864551)

+1, Reaching

Re:What a co-incidence!!! (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864255)

NASA figured out that the surest way to meet some easy Martians is to post an arm's-length photo of yourself on mars.craigslist.com/personals/casualencounters

New In Town!
Self-sufficient adventurous type seeks casual encounters. I've been out on my own for a while now, have a serious, analytical side, but a warm heart. I still write home to my parents every day. Would love to send them photos of me with my new friends. Don't be shy! I don't bite -- I just vaporize little rocks out of curiosity.
--Rocknest Monster

But how? (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863059)

It must have primed and tossed the camera a lot of times to do that.
Pretty neat.

Thirty-five megapixel version (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863091)

5463 x 7595 pixels (width x height) [nasa.gov]

Original Caption Released with Image:

        On Sol 84 (Oct. 31, 2012), NASA's Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture this set of 55 high-resolution images, which were stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait.

        The mosaic shows the rover at "Rocknest," the spot in Gale Crater where the mission's first scoop sampling took place. Four scoop scars can be seen in the regolith in front of the rover.

        The base of Gale Crater's 3-mile-high (5-kilometer) sedimentary mountain, Mount Sharp, rises on the right side of the frame. Mountains in the background to the left are the northern wall of Gale Crater. The Martian landscape appears inverted within the round, reflective ChemCam instrument at the top of the rover's mast.

        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. Due to its location on the end of the robotic arm, only MAHLI (among the rover's 17 cameras) is able to image some parts of the craft, including the port-side wheels.

        This high-resolution mosaic is a more detailed version of the low-resolution version created with thumbnail images, at PIA16238.

        JPL manages the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

        For more about NASA's Curiosity mission, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl, http://www.nasa.gov/mars, and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.
Image Credit:
        NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

Image Addition Date:
        2012-11-01

Re:Thirty-five megapixel version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863225)

Is there a little man in the rovers head? zoom in on the big eye

Re:Thirty-five megapixel version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863671)

Yeah he looks like a mean ass man of color.

Why are there footprints... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863093)

...on the ground, just to the left of the rover?

Re:Why are there footprints... (4, Informative)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863105)

Those are the little trenches where it was scooping soil samples.

Re:Why are there footprints... (4, Funny)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863241)

Those are the little trenches where it was scooping soil samples.

Hand in your conspiracy theorist badge. Now. They can be nothing but footprints. Little trenches from scooping soil samples... hilarious.

Re:Why are there footprints... (5, Funny)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863275)

Now that I look at it more I can find even further flaws in your theory that that are not footprints. If you zoom in, magnify and apply 24 Laplace transforms (not enough room here to write them out completely), rotate 5 degrees, shift each pixel using a polar function, rotate -5 degrees, zoom, sharpen, smooth, stretch horizontally 314 pixels, rotate 1.618 degrees, add the height Mt Everest and subtract 15 before finally passing it through a modified Bresenham circle algorithm you can clearly see the thread. The threads are clearly from a shoe... not your so called "little trenches".

Re:Why are there footprints... (2)

Psychotria (953670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863309)

Hold the fort!

I've done some more careful analysis and this is truly incredible. If you add the height of each Giza pyramid, convert the image to greyscale with each pixel having a value of 0-0xffff, add those values to the original image, mask with 0xffff, rotate by the circumference of the Great Pyramid, project the 2d greyscale image to 3D with an eye distance of -1 you get this [blogspot.com] . No joke.

Re:Why are there footprints... (1)

uncanny (954868) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864283)

in other words, "ENHANCE"

Re:Why are there footprints... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#41873737)

I must have chosen different Laplace transforms. I see "Paul is dead", backwards.

Re:Why are there footprints... (1)

bmimatt (1021295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863491)

Exactly!  The footprints of the Russians that took the picture.  Haven't you seen 'Apollo 18'?
Cool pic though.

Re:Why are there footprints... (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867391)

Yep, obviously taken in San Bernadino county.

Re:Why are there footprints... (1)

tickticker (549972) | about a year and a half ago | (#41869683)

Not only that, but if you look in the lens of what looks like a camera on the tallest part of the rover, you can clearly see the shadow of the person taking the photo.

its not cute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863195)

.
Why are all those wires exposed. I guess whoever built it has some experience with rovers, but I object to increasing the exposed surface area. Exposed to who knows what! Up the entropy, too many variables. Looks like what I would make in grade school.

Its not even cute. Decrease its reactive surface area reduce entropy. Its a monster

So far away (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863237)

but it looks like it could be any arid/desert landscape on Earth.

And no I'm not suggesting conspiracy. :)

Re:So far away (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863519)

Except for the color of the sky, and presumably the color of light hitting the rover.

Re:So far away (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863933)

'shopped, I can tell by the pixels.

Taken in the bathroom, right ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863243)

:-)

Note to Slashdot (5, Informative)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863253)

Please don't don't try to 'sell' page hits. Use the source [nasa.gov] ...

Re:Note to Slashdot (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867399)

Why not?

Re:Note to Slashdot (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867601)

I'd rather not have my bandwidth and CPU cycles consumed by advertising, which also clogs the tubes all around the internet. It causes my music streaming to break up and slows down my torrents.

Re:Note to Slashdot (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41868825)

I agree that it's better to link a primary source rather than some watered-down news site or blog. But I don't see them selling links here, just not bothering to track down the original source. Slashdot editors barely even read the submissions they post, never mind editing them for commercial purposes.

No life detected so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863261)

Methane gas is an organic molecule and an important potential indicator that life could have existed on Mars at some point during the planet's estimated 4.6 billion year history.
"At this time we don't have positive detection of methane on Mars," said Sushil Atreya, a co-investigator on the Curiosity rover's SAM instrument and a professor of atmospheric and space science at the University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor, during the press conference.

Too bad.

That arm going to be handy (1)

chaos_technique (1191999) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863287)

... when it finds the cat

Can anyone say.... (1)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863295)

WALL-E?

robot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863395)

Gotta love how no efforts to pretty it up ends up making it look really cool.

Asking NASA to SELL the image? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41863843)

But I thought Information Wants To Be Free. Why should we have to pay (again) for this image, why can't we just copy it freely?

Re:Asking NASA to SELL the image? (1)

CityZen (464761) | about a year and a half ago | (#41865871)

The information is free. You can download the bits no charge. But if you want a high quality print on good paper, that's another story.

Re:Asking NASA to SELL the image? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41878527)

Then I can just print it myself. Why should NASA expect to get paid for that? This is slashdot, isn't it, where we expect all information to be available to us absolutely free of charge for all eternity regardless of the costs the creators incurred, right? Or does that only apply if they are creating music or video?

higher resolution? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#41863877)

Is there a higher resolution available somewhere? I want to use it on my desktop.

I'm confused...... (1)

Squatting_Dog (96576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41864157)

How does a camera take a picture of itself?

Re:I'm confused...... (1)

CityZen (464761) | about a year and a half ago | (#41865923)

There is no image of the camera, but just the body of the rover and its surroundings.

You can do the same thing yourself by taking a a few of images of yourself with your arm bent in different directions (ie, elbow forward, elbow back) while still keeping the camera in more or less the same place. You can then stitch them together and your arm will disappear. Or, you can make it look like you have multiple arms.

Lot of blank space on Curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41864307)

Not that I'm looking forward to it, but the further commercialization of space is inevitable. Since Congress won't reign in spending, won't raise taxes, and needs more money for more wars in the ME, NASA needs a way to raise funds to offset their budget cuts. Why not take lesson from NASCAR plaster those uncovered areas with decals from company or organizational sponsorships? Tiny stickers on a NASCAR car can go for $200,000 a season. Say if NASA charged only half of that, I would think it would be worth it in the amount goodwill generated for a company alone given how highly public opinion is in favor of NASA after the successful Curiosity landing.

Thank Dog (1)

AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) | about a year and a half ago | (#41865843)

No duckface.

Faked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41866255)

There are footsteps on the mid left side of the image.

Pitting on the wheels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41866393)

There seems to be quite a bit of pitting on the wheels already, maybe they should stay on that road in the background instead...

Mission Critical (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41866527)

Glad to see NASA is not wasting one precious moment of this things limited lifespan on non mission critical tasks. Your tax dollars at work spending hours for scientist to send data to and from the thing and you get a facebook pose in return.

Re:Mission Critical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41871391)

I think it's NASA critical to product cute pictures of rovers to catch the public interest and hence the politicians' interest who then maybe will stop slashing it's funding.

They've cropped something out. (1)

gmanny (2766729) | about a year and a half ago | (#41867021)

Notice how the picture is 4:2.87 instead of 4:3 and how it looks cropped on the left side.

Missing arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41867639)

Everybody talks about the missing arm. What about the footsteps in front of the rover? :P

Footprints?! (1)

Tomahawk (1343) | about a year and a half ago | (#41871437)

Are they...em...footprints?!

Group photo (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year and a half ago | (#41871835)

Cool. Now if there's some way to get Spirit, Opportunity and Pathfinder together, it can take a group photo and send a postcard to Earth.

Tracks... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year and a half ago | (#41880755)

What are the scientists doing? Donuts on Mars?

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