NASA's Curiosity rover snapped a stunning new selfie surrounded by expansive, rocky terrain on Mars.
The robotic explorer, which landed on Mars in August 2012, continues to roam Gale Crater in search of evidence that the Red Planet was once habitable. The Curiosity rover is famous for taking selfies along its journey, and its latest snapshot offers a stunning view of two landmarks: a rock formation called Greenheugh Pediment to the left, behind the rover, and a hill called Rafael Navarro Mountain in the middle right of the photo.
Curiosity snapped its latest 360-degree selfie on Nov. 20, which was the 3,303rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission. The panorama, made up of 81 individual images stitched together, was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located at the end of the rover's robotic arm, according to a statement from NASA.
NASA shared both a wide and up-close view of Curiosity's latest selfie on Nov. 29, showcasing the beautiful landscape of Mars with the sun shining in the sky. The image highlights the red rust color of the Martian surface, along with the varied and rugged terrain surrounding the rover.
The photo also captures a view of Mount Sharp — the 3.4-mile-tall (5.5 kilometers) mountain that Curiosity has been driving up since 2014. The rover has been traversing Mount Sharp looking for clues about the Red Planet's ancient past, in particular when the relatively warm and wet world transitioned to the cold desert it is today.
Curiosity previously photographed Mars' Rafael Navarro Mountain in April 2021, at which time the hill was named after a former astrobiologist, Rafael Navarro-González, who worked on the mission until he passed away on Jan. 26. Around the same time in April, the rover ascended Greenheugh Pediment and captured a view from the top of the rock formation.
Now, Curiosity is headed toward a narrow passageway called Maria Gordon Notch, which is the U-shaped opening captured behind the rover to the left in the photo.