sabato 3 maggio 2014

NASA Rover Curiosity Takes Selfie Before Drilling on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover knows how to take a good selfie. The latest, assembled from raw images by space blogger Jason Major, shows the rover’s “face” — the eye-like navigation cameras and the workhorse Mastcam — taken by a camera mounted on an arm, known as the Hand Lens Imager.  (For the full panoramic image, click here.)
The photos, taken on April 27th and 28th, show the massive, 3-mile-high Mount Sharp looming in the background. Curiosity has been making its way toward Mount Sharp since it landed on Mars in August of 2012.
Along the way, the rover has been taking pictures and examining the planet’s surface in order to understand its geology and the potential for life. Its next step is to drill into a new rock target, which the rover team has named “Windjana,” after a gorge in western Australia. Curiosity is the first robot to have drilled into the Martian surface to find out what’s below. This will be its third drilling mission.
Curiosity is stopped at a spot called Waypoint Kimberly, an area where several different types of terrain come together, NPR reports. This makes it a good place for the rover to “stop and smell the roses,” Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger told NPR.


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