NASA has posted a selfie of the Curiosity Mars Rover, taken in an area of the Red Planet called Mary Anning, named after the British explorer.
The self-portrait was created by combining 57 separate images taken on October 25, 2020, using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a special robotic arm camera.
In the image, you can see that more than eight years spent on the surface of Mars did not pass unnoticed for Curiosity: its wheels and other hull elements are noticeably worn out and covered with Martian dust. However, it does not prevent Curiosity Mars Rover from fulfilling its mission, sending priceless photographs and other scientific data to Earth.
For example, at Mary Anning, Curiosity has drilled three holes into area rocks, collecting and analyzing samples of the resulting powder. The total number of Curiosity's drilled holes on Mars approached nearly 30.
"It will take months for the team to interpret the chemistry and minerals in the samples from the Mary Anning site. In the meantime, the scientists and engineers who have been commanding the rover from their homes as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic have directed Curiosity to continue its climb of Mount Sharp. The rover's next target of exploration is a layer of sulfate-laden rockthat lies higher up the mountain. The team hopes to reach it in early 2021," said NASA's blog.
Recall that Curiosity has been on the Red Planet's surface since August 6, 2012, but soon, it will have a partner, the Perseverance rover, launched by NASA in July 2020. NASA's Mars 2020 rover Perseverance is expected to reach the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021.