Friday, December 07, 2012

KEWWWL: How the Mars Rover Snapped a Self-Portrait

NatGeo offers an animation that depicts the first-ever robotic self-portrait on another planet:

The now iconic self-portrait of the Mars rover Curiosity looks like someone, or something, other than the rover took its picture. The photograph, seemingly taken from afar, features an image of the entire vehicle at a site called Rocknest—with tire tracks below, Mount Sharp in the background, and clear scuff marks where Curiosity's arm had scooped up soil for analysis.

...A video released last week by NASA illustrates the daylong rover gymnastics used to take the self-portrait. As the video shows, the camera lens was kept in one place as much as possible to minimize parallax—the seeming change in location of objects within the images caused by a change in camera position—while the arm went through its contortions...

...The actual photo shoot took place in October over two Martian days, known as sols, using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera, which sits in a turret at the end of the rover's nearly seven-foot-long (two-meter) arm. The camera is a stand-in of sorts for a geologist's magnifying tool, and it can focus on objects very far away, as well as up close (as near as 0.8 inches, or 2 centimeters)...

The three inventors plan on creating a 3-D version of the animation. Upon hearing this news, Keanu Reeves issued the following statement:


Hat tip: BadBlue Tech.

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