The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera will fly on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, launching in late 2011. This photo of the camera was taken before MAHLI's November 2010 installation onto the robotic arm of the mission's Mars rover, Curiosity.

The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera will fly on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, launching in late 2011. This photo of the camera was taken before MAHLI's November 2010 installation onto the robotic arm of the mission's Mars rover, Curiosity.

MAHLI's main job is to acquire color close-up images of rocks and surface materials in Curiosity's landing area at a range of spatial scales, with resolution as high as 14 micrometers per pixel. Also, its focal length can be adjusted to photograph more distant objects from any positioning of the rover's long arm.

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, supplied MAHLI and three other cameras for the mission. A pocket knife that is 88.9 millimeters (3.5 inches) long provides scale for the image.

View all Images