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Mars rover takes self-portrait

Aug. 9, 2012 at 6:25 PM   |   Comments

PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has taken a photographic "self-portrait" with the rover's just-activated navigation cameras, called Navcams, engineers said.

The rover's first self-portrait was taken looking down at the deck from above with a Navcam located on the rover's now-upright mast, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Thursday.

Another Navcam image set, in lower-resolution thumbnails, is the first 360-degree view of Curiosity's new home in Gale Crater, JPL said, while two higher-resolution Navcams have provided the most detailed image to date of the surface next to the rover.

"These Navcam images indicate that our powered descent stage did more than give us a great ride, it gave our science team an amazing freebie," said John Grotzinger, project scientist for the mission from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

"The thrust from the rockets actually dug a one-and-a-half-foot-long trench in the surface. It appears we can see Martian bedrock on the bottom. Its depth below the surface is valuable data we can use going forward."

Internet users can view Curiosity's latest images at http://1.usa.gov/MfiyD0.

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