I’m ready for my close-up now…

Well, the cover of the MAHLI camera has come off, and like a Japanese tourist walking around Castlerigg Stone Circle, Curiosity is crazily snapping lots of pictures of herself. Eventually there’ll be enough to make a complete “self portrait” of the rover – probably the most anticipated ‘space image’ since those pictures of the shuttle docked to the ISS which were taken by a departing Soyuz crew a couple of years ago. Today we have enough images to see the lower half of the rover, and I’ll show you a stunning mosaic of those created by one of my great friends over on UMSF, but for now just marvel at a couple of the individual images…

 

That second image is a killer, isn’t it? Just look at it closely for a moment, imagine you’re standing in front of it in an art galley or museum, taking it in… look at the dust clinging to the already battered-looking wheels… the shadow of the rover on the rocky ground… the details on the hills behind it… the spiky treads of the rover’s wheels… the cables snaking into the wheels, tied together by hand… THAT was built by people, amazing people, brilliant people, dedicated people. And those wheels will take Curiosity to the foothlls of a towering martian mountain, up to and then through a Wild West landscape of crumbling orange mesa and buttes, to a place where it might, might, find evidence that Mars was once a place where life might have existed. Magical.

Now… that mosaic… my great and talented friend AstroO from the UMSF forum has stitched together a whole bunch of these images into a single, breathtaking mosaic, and I know he won’t mind me showing it here. So, take a look at this next image… imagine you’re kneeling on the ground in front of Curiosity, between its front wheels, looking up at it through your camera, taking its picture… THIS is *EXACTLY* what you’d see…

There’s a full resolution version on his blog, here

I know that AstroO will complete the mosaic when the rest of the images come in, and I’ll post that here too. That’s going to be a thing of beauty, to be sure.

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