US News NASA Mars Curiosity rover selfie celebrates rare scientific feat

17:40  25 october  2019
17:40  25 october  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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a man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: The Curiosity rover delivered a fresh selfie at a drill site. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The Curiosity rover delivered a fresh selfie at a drill site. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS Curiosity is Mars' top supermodel. A new selfie proves the fetching NASA rover knows how to pose for the camera on the end of its robotic arm. Work it, Curiosity, work it.

You can check out the full high-res image on NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab website.

Look to the left of the rover and you'll spot twin drill holes created by Curiosity in this fascinating "clay-bearing unit" area of Mars.

Related: Amazing images from the Curiosity Rover (Photos)

The rover snapped the 57 images used for the selfie on Oct. 11 and NASA released the final panoramic image on Thursday. 

The selfie is also a celebration of a chemistry experiment the rover performed for just the second time since it arrived on Mars in 2011.

Related: Will Mars missions make humans sick? Here's what we know (Photos)

a close up of a statue: A self-portrait of the Mars rover Curiosity.

Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM, instrument is designed to analyze gases, detect water vapor and look for signs of organic compounds.

The rover performed a SAM "wet chemistry" experiment in late September that combined a drill sample with solvents to analyze the gases in the material.

Curiosity's first complete experiment of this type was in late 2017. 

a close up of a motorcycle seat: This close-up image shows the SAM inlet on the rover's deck. NASA/JPL-Caltech © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. This close-up image shows the SAM inlet on the rover's deck. NASA/JPL-Caltech "Curiosity only has nine cups containing these solvents, so we are careful to save our wet chemistry experiments for only the most interesting rock samples," wrote planetary geologist and Curiosity team member Melissa Rice in a September mission update.

Related: Spectacular images from space (Photos)

While this is the second wet chemistry experiment, it's the first to use a drill sample. It'll take awhile for scientists to work through the data. We'll have to wait until next year to see what, if any, organic compounds Curiosity was able to sniff out. 

This glorious rover selfie is a grand way to mark a special occasion on Mars. 

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