TECH

Stunning Wheel Selfie Shows The Battering Curiosity Is Taking On Mars

23/12/2014 11:27 GMT | Updated 26/12/2014 04:59 GMT

At first glance this appears to be nothing more than a routine self-inspection of Curiosity rover's wheel. Look closer though and this humble selfie puts what we know into stark reality: we have a car-sized robot on the surface of Mars.

Curiosity is something of a technical marvel, outliving NASA's predicted lifespan it has continually trod the Martian landscape without incident and without fuss for the last 868 days.

Since then it has walked new terrain, helped fuel numerous scientific breakthroughs and even discovered the most definite proof yet that there could be life on Mars.

That's not to say it hasn't taken some damage along the way and as you can see from this image Curiosity's metal wheels have taken a serious battering.

curiosity rover

The picture isn't just a close-up of everyone's favourite space-faring robot though, it's also a rare chance to see Mars' barren floor up close.

As one Reddit user touchingly points out:

"For some reason seeing the ground up close like this, seeing the dirt and the rocks as if I was crouched right in front of them, as though I could just reach out and grab them, all the while knowing that they are millions of kilometres away gives me such a sense of awe."

For once, we're inclined to agree with Reddit on this one.