After its 140 million mile journey and just over 3 years of wandering around Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover did something that people here on earth do every day: it took a selfie.
Before you ask, No, the picture was not for the robot’s online dating profile.
The low-angled image was actually a result of the rover extending its robotic arm to start a drilling project aimed at collecting samples from a rock formation known as “buckskin”. I guess that is understandable – drilling on Mars is a big thing, I’d take a selfie, too. Keep in mind: Curiosity isn’t just a little remote controlled car. It’s actually the size of a small SUV. According to Space.com, “It is 9 feet 10 inches long by 9 feet 1 inch wide (3 m by 2.8 m) and about 7 feet high (2.1 m).
It weighs 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). Curiosity’s wheels have a 20-inch (50.8 cm) diameter.” With a price tag of just over $2.5 billion dollars, taking selfies is far from all this rover can do.
As a matter of fact, Curiosity made a pretty significant discovery shortly before the selfie was taken. According to NASA, “The ground about 1 meter beneath the rover in this area holds three or four times as much water as the ground anywhere else Curiosity has driven during its three years on Mars.”
So just think about this next time you take 63 pictures of yourself in a mall dressing room trying to get the perfect selfie: A robot traveled 140 million miles, drove for 3 years, discovered significant proof of water on Mars, and it only took ONE selfie.