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How does the Curiosity rover take selfies when we don’t see its arm?

NASA's Curiosity rover is the new "selfie" king in town. Its mysterious selfie technique is one that has left many intrigued as to how the rover is able to take selfies without a (robotic) arm.

As it turns out, not only humans are obsessed with themselves. Another “selfie” by NASA’s Curiosity rover is taken, up to 410,000,000 km from Earth, and a big question that is asked is how it is possible to take selfies without a hand holding the camera, or at least a human hand. Could it be that the Curiosity has some kind of module that moves out of the apparatus to take selfies, or that the rover is on a NASA set and has never actually flown to the red planet?

No need to delve into conspiracy theories or conjure up absurd claims. This is nothing more than fiction – because there is nothing extraordinary about the technology used. In fact, we are dealing with the usual “photoshop”, or rather a mosaic of dozens of frames.

The magic starts before takeoff. Even before the mission to Mars, NASA engineers came to understand that if each photograph of the Martian surface shows the manipulator of the device, these frames would not look very aesthetically pleasing.

Developing photo-module experts suggested a simple and elegant solution: before each “selfie”, the apparatus will make a series of several dozen photos in such a way as to minimize parallax – the change of positions of objects in photos caused by the movement of the camera lens. Then, the picture with the manipulator arm would simply be replaced with another picture without the manipulator arm.

This is explained in the video below:

Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – How the Curiosity Rover Selfie is made

The most difficult task is to set the correct camera trajectory, and as we can see, the engineers successfully cope with it. The video above clearly shows how the process of the rover taking selfies takes place.

Once it’s finished, the entire series of images is sent back to Earth, where it’s manually stacked into a mosaic, filtered, and posted on the Internet.

And there you have it, the magical Curiosity rover selfie technique is no longer a mystery.

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