The image was taken by Curiosity’s MAHLI hand-held camera, which sits on the end of the rover’s extendable arm. MAHLI snapped 55 pictures from different locations. The different positions overlapped just enough so that the arm couldn’t be seen in the final result.
What can be seen are tire tracks, scoops in the Martian dust that Curiosity made, and the foothills of the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp in the background, which Curiosity will be driving up in the coming years. The rover will be investigating this area for signs of habitability in the Martian past or present. NASA will present new results about the Martian atmosphere at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern, which may include analysis of methane on Mars, a possible indicator of geologic or biological activity.