It seems really strange to me that there is so little visible of the surface in this image, it mostly appears to be the deck of InSight. Why is so little visible?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ It's just a selfie. $\endgroup$ – Eric Duminil Nov 28 '18 at 20:31
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    $\begingroup$ There is very little of the surface visible because the robot is in the way. Not sure what else there is to say! If you want to take a picture of the surface you will have to point the camera in a different direction... Maybe you want to rephrase your question, i.e. what exactly do you consider strange? $\endgroup$ – user2705196 Nov 28 '18 at 22:43
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    $\begingroup$ Why is so much InSight in sight?! $\endgroup$ – joshuaronis Nov 29 '18 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ @user2705196 I guess the OP is wondering why the decision was made to (a) have a camera facing this way, and (b) why use this camera for introductory photography. Personally I think the answer to both is fairly obvious but that doesn't mean it can't be given :) $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 29 '18 at 10:36

That image was taken by the Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC). It's located on the arm. With the arm in stowed position, it's logical that a section of the deck is in view.

In other words, it's an engineering instrument, not a science instrument.

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    $\begingroup$ While the cameras primary intent is find the best spots to place the instruments, InSight reused Pheonix's hardware design to the extent that the arm still has the digging scoop the latter used to look for ice under the surface. While not part of the primary mission, it leaves an opening for the camera to be used as a science instrument in the probable extended phase by having the arm attempt to dig a trench and imaging the results. $\endgroup$ – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Nov 28 '18 at 20:41

To add to Hobbes' answer: InSight hasn't unpacked yet for its stay!

There is a lot of equipment which was packaged on top of the deck for transport, which will be moved to their proper places over the next weeks. The white tubing on the right and bottom edges of the picture is the robotic arm, to which this camera is attached to. The arm's grapple is in the bottom center. The metallic box on the left side is SEIS, which will be placed on the surface of the planet along with HP3.

There is a second camera (the ICC) below the deck, which would be unobstructed if not for a dust cover that has dust on it. This camera was more affected than the IDC by dust kicked up during landing, because this camera is below deck versus the IDC which is above-deck. You can make out a rock and a lander leg near the bottom of the image.

ICC image

The next steps are to active the arm and use it to remove the dust covers of both cameras. The ICC should give a nice panoramic view of the nearby terrain, unobstructed by the lander. The IDC is on the arm and will be moved to various vantage points to survey the terrain and get close-up images of the nearby objects, unobstructed by the lander.

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  • $\begingroup$ I saw this photo just few hours after the lander's touchdown. I still have my doubt: is this actually the raw image (B&W or colorful?) originally from the lander or it was computer-processed before publicly disclosed? $\endgroup$ – Boosted Nub Nov 29 '18 at 4:58
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    $\begingroup$ The lander has two colour cameras, it's not a false-colour image - but I think I saw that photo posted on Twitter with a comment saying it was processed to enhance the contrast of the ground. $\endgroup$ – Robyn Nov 29 '18 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, every photograph is false-colour to a degree! Although some colour profiles are more equal than others... $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 29 '18 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ Re: colours. There's probably a "calibration target", including for colour, on the probe somewhere. Compare space.stackexchange.com/q/2200/10450 $\endgroup$ – Roger Lipscombe Nov 29 '18 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ The InSight website at NASA has a section titled "Raw Images" and another titled "Images". The picture in my answer is a direct link to "Raw Images". Any image processing should be minimal, if at all. Both cameras are RGB color. Both have dust covers on, although I doubt that's affecting the color. The pictures are during Mars daytime, when the sky is orange; I think that's the greatest contributor to the color of the pictures. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Nov 29 '18 at 13:50

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