NASA’s Mars rover takes a cute selfie at a historic rock sampling site

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NASA’s Perseverance rover took a few selfies at the Rochette rock sampling site on Mars.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS
This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series about the red planet.

NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance did something extremely cool: It collected two rock samples on Mars and put them in tubes that might one day be returned to earth. This success was worth a double selfie celebration.

On Monday, NASA released a pair of rover selfies, one showing the rover “looking” at the rock it drilled for the samples and the other showing “looking at the camera”. The difference lies in the position of the head-like instrument cluster, which is mounted on the top of its mast.

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The sampled rock Perseverance is nicknamed “Rochette”. The selfie is from September 10th, and the two drill holes are clearly visible as two dark circles in the rock. The samples are now safely stowed away and NASA hopes to send a future mission to retrieve them. The rover will collect more stones as it explores.

Each version of the portrait consists of 57 images that are stitched together to provide a complete view of the rover and its surroundings. The rover used a camera on the end of its robotic arm to summarize all of the footage.

NASA Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity Helicopters explore the wilderness of Mars

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A key goal of the Perseverance mission is to look for traces of ancient microbial life in Jezero Crater, a region that once housed a lake. The rover is busy studying its surroundings and it also looks fabulous while doing science. It was the perfect time to take a selfie to commemorate a historical event on Mars.

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