SCIENCE
09/11/2012 08:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mars Rover Curiosity Uses MAHLI Camera To Send Back Detailed Self-Portraits (PHOTOS)

NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity has beamed back another set of photos from the red planet, including several detailed self-portraits.

The photos, which show the rover's wheels, underbelly and several of its cameras, were taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, a high-resolution camera on the rover's robotic arm. The photos were part of a test to make sure the robotic arm and camera were working properly, according to NASA.

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"Wow, seeing these images after all the tremendous hard work that has gone into making them possible is a profoundly emotional moment," Ken Edgett, said MAHLI Principal Investigator, said in a NASA statement. "It is so exciting to see the camera returning beautiful, sharp images from Mars."

NASA, which calls MAHLI the rover's "own equivalent of the geologist's hand lens," says that the camera will send back detailed images of Martian rocks and soil.

Last month, NASA released another self-portrait of the rover, composed of a mosaic of 20 images taken by the rover's Navigation camera.

Space.com reports that there are 17 imagers on Curiosity.

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), nicknamed Curiosity, landed on Mars on August 6. If all goes according to plan, the one-ton rover will spend the next several years exploring the red planet to see if there were ever conditions suitable for microbial life.

LOOK: Rover Takes Self-Portrait

mars rover self portrait

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