NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover snapped a self-portrait at the “Quela” drilling location in the “Murray Buttes” area on lower Mount Sharp.
Key features on the skyline of this panorama are the dark mesa called “M12” to the left of the rover’s mast and pale, upper Mount Sharp to the right of the mast. The top of M12 stands about 23 feet (7 meters) above the base of the sloping piles of rocks just behind Curiosity.
The selfie is composed of about 60 images Curiosity took on Sept. 17 and Sept. 20 while it was drilling for samples into Martian rock.
Over the next year or so, Curiosity will explore the Murray formation’s upper half.
“We will see whether that record of lakes continues further,” Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.
“The more vertical thickness we see, the longer the lakes were present, and the longer habitable conditions existed here. Did the ancient environment change over time? Will the type of evidence we’ve found so far transition to something else?”