How to take a self-portrait if you're a robot on mars

Curiosity has learned about the Myspace angle.

The Mars Curiosity rover continues to lad about on the red planet. Yesterday it drilled a hole in a rock for the hell of it*, today it's started taking Myspace selfies:

Nasa has also released a Gigapan version of the shot, which lets you zoom in on any part of the picture to an extraordinary degree. Here's the Nasa logo on the front corner of the rover:

But the thing that's really impressive is that the whole thing is done without actually revealing where the camera is. When I first saw it, I assumed that the rover had a detachable camera it could set up on a tripod, but no; it's actually far cleverer than that. It's a montage of a lot of different shots, all cleverly placed so as to keep the arm which holds the camera out-of-frame. Here's a video of how it was done (the embed link is, sadly, broken).

 

Curiosity has passed the mindless-destruction phase and reached the vanity stage. If puberty continues at this rate, expect to find it curled up at the base of Olympus Mons with an empty six-pack of Strongbow and a headache by May.

*to test if its drill worked

Curiosity is happy to see you. All photographs: NASA

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Joshua M. Jones for Emojipedia
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The emojis proposed for release in 2016 are faintly disturbing

Birds of prey, dead flowers and vomit: Emojipedia's vision for 2016. 

Since, as we're constantly being told, emojis are now the fastest growing languge in the UK, it seems only appropriate that its vocabulary should expand to include more commonly used images or ideas as its popularity increases. 

Next year, the Unicode Consortium, which decides which new codes can be added to the emoji dictionary, will approve a new round of symbols. So far, 38 suggestions have been accepted as candidates for the final selection. Emojipedia, an online emoji resource, has taken it upon itself to mock up the new symbols based on the appearance of existing emojis (though emojis are designed slightly differently by different operating systems like Apple or Android). The full list will be decided by Unicode in mid-2016. 

As it stands, the new selection is a little... well, dark. 

First, there are the faces: a Pinocchio-nosed lying face, a dribbling face, a nauseous face, an upset-looking lady and a horrible swollen clown head: 

Then there's what I like to call the "melancholy nighttime collection", including a bat, owl, fox, blackened heart and dying rose: 

Here we have a few predators, thrown in for good measure, and a stop sign:

There are a few symbols of optimism amid the doom and gloom, including a pair of crossed fingers, clinking champagne glasses and smiling cowboy, plus a groom and prince to round out the bride and princess on current release. (You can see the full list of mock-ups here). But overall, the tone is remarkably sombre. 

Perhaps as emoji become ever more popular as a method of communication, we need to accept that they must represent the world in all its darkness and nuance. Not every experience deserves a smiley face, after all. 

All mock-ups: Emojpedia.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.