NASA's Curiosity Rover Shares a Stunning Selfie From Mars

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The image is actually a compilation of dozens of photos captured by Curiosity's Hands Lens Imager, an instrument that is at the end of Curiosity's 7-foot-long robotic arm, which does not appear in the image.

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover recently sent back a series of photos showing the view of planet's Gale Crater from Vera Rubin Ridge.

A vantage point
A vantage point on"Vera Rubin Ridge provided NASA's Curiosity Mars rover

The footage reveals the landscape across the Gale Crater, a huge basin created 3.8 billion years ago by an asteroid or comet hitting the red planet.

Curiosity has only traveled 11.26 miles (18.13 kilometers) on the surface of Mars, but it's already been an incredible journey, giving us an unprecedented view of the Red Planet and allowing researchers to understand our planetary neighbor better than ever before. From the collection, NASA researchers stitched together a stunning panoramic view of Gale Crater, which the rover has been exploring since it touched down in August 2012. In the photo, the rover is on the base of Mount Sharp, which you can see peeking up behind the rover.

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The rover photographed the scene shortly before northern Mars' winter solstice, a season of clear skies, gaining a sharp view of distant details. The U.S. space agency reports that the image above includes most of the 11-mile route the Curiosity has traveled in the past six years. The rover's exact landing site is hidden behind a slight rise.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS At Yellowknife Bay in 2013, the mission found evidence of an ancient freshwater-lake environment that offered all of the basic chemical ingredients for microbial life. Initially, the team's intention was to study the lower parts of Mount Sharp, learning about the mountain's slopes, which feature layers formed over millions of years in the presence of water. As of now, the rover has managed to cover about 1,100 feet and continues to explore the planet further.

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The mission has subsequently approached the southern edge of the ridge and examined several outcrop locations along the way, NASA reports.

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