The Mars Opportunity rover has taken its first selfie after 14 years on the planet.
The solar-powered geology robot the size of a golf cart took the photo to celebrate its 5,000th sunrise on Saturday. Opportunity’s original design was supposed to only last for 90 Martian days, called sols, which are 40 minutes longer than a day on earth.
The final image was created by combining multiple frames taken by the Microscopic Imager at the end of the Opportunity’s robotic arm.
The selection of images which made up the selfie are a drop in the ocean when compared to the 225,000 images the rover has returned since it landed on Mars on January 25 2004.
“We’ve reached lots of milestones, and this is one more,” said Opportunity project manager John Callas, of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “But more important than the numbers are the exploration and the scientific discoveries.”
These discoveries include signs that liquid water once existed on the planet.
Opportunity reached Mars at the same time as its partner Spirit. Spirit’s last communication with earth was in 2010, but its sibling robot continues to run, analysing ground samples and take photos on its mast camera.