In my last round-up on news from the Mars Science Laboratory briefings, only Pressed earlier today, I made mention of Curiosity testing the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), mounted on the science systems turret at the end of the robot arm, and taking some self-portraits during the initial 6-day calibration and check-out period for the robot arm and the science instruments.
Little did I realise the first such picture had actually already been taken!
The image was captured as the Mastcam took pictures of Curiosity’s turret on Sol 29, and captured a shot of MAHLI in order to check the dust cover over MAHLI’s sensitive lens, and ascertain the amount of dust on it and whether the dust would post a problem when the cover is finally opened.
The MAHLI image was taken at around the same time, and is hazy due to the protective cover, which is in place at the time the image was taken, being covered by a thin film of dust thrown-up during the landing phase of the mission covering it.
This is liable to be the first of a series of remarkable and unique series of images from Curiosity.
Images courtesy of NASA / JPL.