The Curiosity Rover has already made history exploring much of the ground on another planet, helping scientists reconstruct the geological history of Mars. Curiosity has been flying around the Vera Rubin Ridge for over a year, nearly 20 kilometers away. It's getting ready for the trigger, but NASA has taken the time to take a selfie.
Curiosity's new selfie shows the rover sitting on the rust-colored ground looking at the camera with his "head". What we normally call Rover Head is a case for the Mastcam and ChemCam instruments. The haze on the horizon is due to a local dust storm – nothing so serious as the global event, which probably doomed the Opportunity Rover to failure last year. NASA took the selfie on January 15, but this is actually a compilation of many pictures, like all selfies by Curiosity.
The picture shows that Curiosity still looks pretty good after more than six years on the red planet. It's a bit dusty and you can see damage to the wheels through unexpectedly sharp Martian rocks. However, NASA assumes that Curiosity will continue to work with the truck in the coming years.
NASA uses the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to take these photos. With a resolution of 1600 x 1200 real pictures are taken. The image published by NASA is much larger than that, because it has been assembled from 57 different frames. That's why the final picture has such amazing details and you can not see the MAHLI arm anywhere. NASA uses all the frames to cut out the arm so it looks like someone is standing next to the rover taking a picture.
Vera Rubin Ridge was Curiosity's 19th drill site on Mars. You can see the tiny "Rock Hall" hole right in front of the rover. Now the rover brings his drill to a "clay bearing unit" that is south of the ridge. Clay minerals may contain clues to learn about the ancient lakes that once covered the land around Mount Sharp.
Find a larger version of the new Curiosity Selfies. The full resolution version can be downloaded from the NASA website. It is 23 MB in size and about 10,000 pixels in size. You should be able to crop it to any size, but NASA also offers some pre-designed wallpaper downloads in standard resolutions.