Feeds

NASA reveals secrets of Curiosity’s selfies

The tinfoil hat brigade aren’t going to believe a word of this

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

NASA has published a long and detailed explanation of just how its Curiosity rover managed to take a self-portrait.

The agency has posted a video, which we've popped at the bottom of the story, and lengthy text explanations of the way it assembled the shot below.

NASA says “Curiosity held the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera in more than 50 positions in one day to generate a single scene combining all the images, creating a high-resolution, full-color portrait of the rover itself.”

Here's the resulting mosaic self-portrait.

A self-portrait taken by the curiosity rover

NASA should know better than to let young space probes to take naked selfies and post them online

In case that explanation is not enough for you, NASA's post also offers the following:

“MAHLI is mounted on a turret at the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. The arm is not visible in the portrait because the arm was positioned out of the shot in the images or portions of images used in the mosaic. Some images taken during the day show portions of the arm. However, the Martian ground that the arm hides from view in those images is visible in alternative images chosen for the mosaic, taking the arm out of the scene.”

All of which is very interesting, but also just a little perplexing given that Curiosity is out there solving the riddles of the red planet. Surely the nature of our near planetary neighbour is just a tad more interesting than learning how a nuclear-powered, laser-equipped space tank takes selfies?

Those sympathetic with the reasoning outlined above may, at this point, want to refresh their memories on the topic of persistent theories that the Apollo missions were a hoax. An arm-free selfie from Curiosity, complete with inconsistent shadowing, is right up the alley of those who believe we never made it to the moon.

It doesn't take long to find very sceptical postulations about Curiosity online (that link's to a mild one).

Might NASA therefore be trying to head off the X-Files brigade before they start to offer their own explanations for Curiosity's selfie? That the agency has recreated the shot with the earth-bound test version of Curiosity could be a sign it is keen to prove the shots are easily achievable.

NASA's post on the matter is written in its usual calm tone, which is just what we here at El Reg would do if we wanted to crush a conspiracy. Or is NASA really sending a secret hint that Curiosity is on a Hollywood sound stage by revealing how the shots were created? Has anyone seen Martin Scorsese lately? What's Danny Boyle done since the Olympics?

The truth is out there. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.