This gif shows the Perseverance rover’s “head” moving in a selfie taking in April 2021.
Taking a selfie on Earth is easy. You just hold out your arm and click. The Mars Perseverance rover held out its arm to snap an epic selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter in April, but the whole process was a lot more complex than on its home planet.
The selfie is a mosaic of 62 separate images taken with a camera mounted on the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
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NASA shared a behind-the-scenes video on Friday that explains how Perseverance took the selfie, and also what it sounded like as the robotic arm moved its camera to snap the images.
The rover is equipped with microphones, which have already delivered wind and helicopter audio. Vandi Verma, Perseverance’s chief engineer for robotic operations, hosted the video and described some of the audio of the arm working as almost musical, “like a flute.” You can also hear whirring and clicking noises from the arm.
Organizing and orchestrating a Mars selfie is hard work for the humans back home. NASA said it required a core group of about a dozen people to plan, process and stitch together the images. The rover team has to take care that the large turret doesn’t bump into the rover’s body while it moves around to snap images.
Of course, Perseverance wasn’t alone. The selfie included the pioneering Ingenuity rotorcraft. which has been logging successful flights across the Martian landscape.
“The thing that took the most attention was getting Ingenuity into the right place in the selfie,” said Mike Ravine of Malin Space Science System, which built and operates the camera used for the selfie. “Given how small it is, I thought we did a pretty good job.”
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