NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took a new selfie on Oct. 11, 2019 at “Glen Etive”, which is part of the “clay-bearing unit,” and this mosaic was stitched together from 57 individual images taken by a camera on the end of its robotic arm. If you look in the left foreground you’ll see the two holes that Curiosity drilled – named “Glen Etive 1” (right) and “Glen Etive 2” (left) – that were used to analyze the chemical composition of rock samples by using the drill to turn them into powder before dropping the samples into a portable lab in its belly called Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM).
Approximately 984-feet behind Curiosity is the Vera Rubin Ridge, and beyond that point, you can see the floor of Gale Crater, along with its northern rim. On Sept. 24, 2019, the rover placed the powderized sample from Glen Etive 2 into SAM, which contains 74 small cups used for testing samples. These cups function as miniature ovens that heat the samples to look for chemicals that hold clues about the Martian environment billions of years ago.
However, nine of SAM’s cups are filled with solvents that can be used for special “wet chemistry” experiments. They make it easier for SAM to detect specific carbon-based molecules that are important to the formation of life, called organic compounds.