NASA’s Curiosity Rover Snaps Amazing Red Planet Selfie During US Government Shutdown on the Blue Planet

A selfie taken by NASA’s
Curiosity Mars rover on Sol 2291 (January 15, 2019) at the “Rock
Hall” drill site, located on Vera Rubin Ridge.  Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Ken Kremer  SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
–29 January 2019


CAPE CANAVERAL,
FL – NASA’s Curiosity rover has snapped an amazing ‘selfie’ of herself this month
on the Red Planet – even as the US Government was shut down back here on the Blue
Planet.



Thankfully the utterly
nonsensical partial government shutdown ended yesterday – thereby allowing all NASA
workers and others effected to get back to work.



The newly released
selfie was taken at
the ‘Rock Hall” drill site
as a farewell salute to Vera Rubin Ridge where the 6 wheeled
robot has been diligently exploring for signs of life for more than a year. 



Curiosity has now
departed Vera Rubin Ridge and begun the trek to a region scientists  believe holds deposits of clay bearing
minerals.



“NASA’s Curiosity rover has taken its last
selfie on Vera Rubin Ridge and descended toward a clay region of Mount Sharp,”
NASA announced Jan 28.



“The twisting ridge on Mars has been the rover’s
home for more than a year, providing scientists with new samples — and new
questions — to puzzle over.”

NASA’s Curiosity rover departs Vera Rubin
Ridge and head towards the next exploration site called the Clay Bearing Unit –
seen in this mosaic of images from the navigation camera. This navcam camera
mosaic was stitched from raw images taken on Sol 2298, Jan. 23, 2019 and
colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL/Marco Di Lorenzo Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

The selfie is
comprised on 57 images taken on Sol 2291, Jan. 15, by the robots Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera located on the
terminus of her seven foot long robotic arm, that were then stitched together into
a panoramic mosaic by the team.



The
scene includes the “Rock Hall” drill hole where she drilled for the 19th
time into the Red Planet rocks.  



The “Rock Hall” drill hole is visible
to the lower left of the rover.  NASA
says the scene is dustier than usual at this time of year due to a regional
dust storm kicking up some dust.

NASA’s Curiosity rover raised robotic arm
with drill pointed skyward while exploring Vera Rubin Ridge – backdropped by
the base of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater. This navcam camera mosaic was stitched
from raw images taken on Sol 1912, Dec. 22, 2017 and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL/Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo

Having concluded her research at Vera Rubin Ridge,
the SUV sized robot is now “headed into what the team calls the
“clay-bearing unit,” which sits in a trough just south of the ridge.
Clay minerals in this unit may hold more clues about the ancient lakes that
helped form the lower levels on Mount Sharp.”

Curiosity rover investigates a huge variety
of past environments preserved within Gale Crater along Vera Rubin Ridge while celebrating
2000 Sols of exploration on the Red Planet. Rover deck is backdropped by Mount
Sharp in this navcam camera mosaic stitched from raw images taken on Sol 2003, Mar.
26, 2018 and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL/Marco Di Lorenzo Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com

Curiosity is currently exploring the lower
sedimentary layers of Mount Sharp which tower over 3 miles (5.5 km) into the
Martian sky
and found that it supported a habitable zone
billions of years ago. 



As of today, Sol 2304, Jan 29, 2019 Curiosity has driven over 12.46 miles
(20.05 kilometers) since
its August 2012 landing inside Gale Crater
from the landing site to Mount Sharp and taken over 548,100 amazing
images. 

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the
KSC area.



.……….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Ken’s
upcoming talks:

Apr 3: “Exploring
Mars; The Search for Life & A Journey in 3-D.”  7 PM, Lawton C
Johnson
Middle School, Summit, NJ. Open to the public. Details upcoming.
Latest results from Mars & Ultima Thule

Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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