Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

Mars Rover Curiosity's arm wields camera well

The activities confirmed good health and usefulness of the Mars Hand Lens Imager and used that camera to check arm placement during several positioning activities.
Curiosityscamera
This view of the lower front and underbelly areas of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines nine images taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 34th martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars, September 9, 2012. // Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity stepped through activities September 7–9 designed to check and characterize precision movements by the rover's robotic arm and use of tools on the arm.

The activities confirmed good health and usefulness of the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and used that camera to check arm placement during several positioning activities.

MAHLI took an image with its re-closable dust cover open for the first time on Mars, confirming sharp imaging capability that had been obscured by a thin film of dust on the cover during previous use of the camera. It took images of cameras at the top of Curiosity's mast, of the underbelly of the rover, and of MAHLI's own calibration target, among other pointings.

"Wow, seeing these images after all the tremendous hard work that has gone into making them possible is a profoundly emotional moment," said MAHLI principal investigator Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. "It is so exciting to see the camera returning beautiful sharp images from Mars."
Calibration-with-penny
The penny in this image is part of a camera calibration target on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The MAHLI camera on the rover took this image of the MAHLI calibration target during the 34th martian day of Curiosity's work on Mars, September 9, 2012.
The penny is a nod to geologists' tradition of placing a coin or other object of known scale as a size reference in close-up photographs of rocks, and it gives the public a familiar object for perceiving size easily when it will be viewed by MAHLI on Mars.

"The folks who drive the rover's arm and turret have taken a 220-pound arm through some very complex tai chi, to center a penny in an image that's only a few centimeters across," said MAHLI Deputy Principal Investigator Aileen Yingst of the Tucson-based Planetary Science Institute. "They make the impossible look easy."

The arm characterization activities, including more imaging by MAHLI, will continue for a few days before Curiosity resumes driving toward a midterm science destination area called Glenelg. In that area, the rover may use its scoop to collect a soil sample, and later its drill to collect a sample of powder from inside a rock.

Curiosity is five weeks into a two-year prime mission on Mars. It will use 10 science instruments to assess whether the selected study area ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

0

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of Astronomy.com are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
0 comments
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
BoxProductcovernov

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Loading...