MAHLI Makes a Movie


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Contact: Michael Ravine,




Curiosity's Mars Handlens Imager (MAHLI) instrument was used to take a
four-frame self-portrait while the rover drilled holes in a target
called "Windjana" in April and May 2014.

movie loop

Before the drill activity, about 70 images were taken on 27 April (sol
613) showing the rover and its surroundings.  Two poses of the rover's
"head", known as the Remote Sensing Mast or RSM, were shot -- one with
the RSM pointed at the planned drill site, and one pointed at the
MAHLI viewpoint.

Then, on 12 May (sol 627) following two drill activities, images were
taken of the drill holes and the surrounding terrain, which had
slumped after being shaken by the percussive action of the drill.

All of these images were merged to produce four mosaics: before and
after drilling, looking at the holes and looking at the camera.  These
mosaics were then used to make a short, whimsical animation.

Mike Ravine of MSSS did the image planning and processing for this
sequence, with the assistance of the instrument and rover operations
teams.  "MAHLI gives us the ability to actually see the rover in
context while it's working," he said, "and there's always the
temptation to portray the rover as a character in its own movie."

The rover's robotic arm, which holds both MAHLI and drill, is not
visible in these images because it was outside the field of view in
each individual image -- much as a cell phone "selfie" may not show
the photographer's arm.  Scientists working on the Curiosity mission
dubbed this area of Mars "Windjana" after Windjana Gorge in the
Kimberley region of western Australia.

MAHLI was built and is operated by Malin Space Science Systems of San
Diego, CA under contract to with Caltech’s NASA-funded Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.  Other activities of the company are
described at

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