Curiosity Rover at Woodland Bay
Curiosity Rover at Woodland Bay
ESP_060207_1750  Science Theme: Mass Wasting Processes
This image of the Curiosity rover was acquired on 31 May 2019, when the rover was examining a location called “Woodland Bay” within a clay-bearing area of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater.

The Vera Rubin ridge is northwest of the rover, while a dark patch of rippled sand lies to the northeast. This may be the best or most interesting image of the rover acquired by HiRISE. What HiRISE detects are mainly specular reflections off of various shiny surfaces, plus shadows of the rover cast onto the Martian surface.

A specular (mirror-like) reflection occurs when most of the light hitting a surface is reflected in a single direction, and can be seen by an observer looking from exactly that direction. So for HiRISE to see specular reflections on the rover, the sun and MRO need to be in just the right locations, and several such reflections are luckily available. If there is a hemispherical shiny surface like the shield over the InSight seismometer, then MRO can always see a specular reflection as long as the surface remains shiny.

This enhanced-color image (and enlargement) of Curiosity shows three or four distinct bright spots that are likely specular reflections, with one of them to the northwest of the others. A first thought is that the separate bright spot is the rover’s arm, but it could also be the remote sensing mast head, which points a bit forward on the rover. At the time this image was acquired, the rover was facing -65 degrees from north, which would put the mast head in about the right location to produce this bright spot.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (12 July 2019)

Acquisition date
31 May 2019

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
268.5 km (166.9 miles)

Original image scale range
27.3 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~82 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel and North is up

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
42°, with the Sun about 48° above the horizon

Solar longitude
33.0°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  32.0°
Black and white
map projected  non-map

IRB color
map projected  non-map

Merged IRB
map projected

Merged RGB
map projected

RGB color
non-map projected

Black and white
map-projected   (620MB)

IRB color
map-projected   (377MB)

Black and white
map-projected  (300MB)
non-map           (326MB)

IRB color
map projected  (116MB)
non-map           (298MB)

Merged IRB
map projected  (159MB)

Merged RGB
map-projected  (155MB)

RGB color
non map           (310MB)
B&W label
Color label
Merged IRB label
Merged RGB label
EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.