Curiosity Explores the Red Planet's Rugged Terrain in Latest Mars Image

Thursday, 28 April 2016 - 12:21PM
Space
Mars
Space Imagery
Thursday, 28 April 2016 - 12:21PM
Curiosity Explores the Red Planet's Rugged Terrain in Latest Mars Image
NASA's Curiosity rover is about to complete one of its greatest obstacles yet, as it has nearly crossed Mars' Naukluft Plateau, which contains some of the roughest and hardest-to-navigate terrain that the rover has ever encountered.

Mars

Curiosity reached the Naukluft Plateau, which is located at the base of Mount Sharp, in early March, and has traveled approximately a quarter mile since then. Once Curiosity traverses the roughest part, the path should take the rover to smoother, more uphill terrain that is of interest to scientists.



But there was significant worry that the ruggedness of the plateau, which is covered with ridges and knobs as a result of wind erosion, could cause damage to Curiosity's wheels, or accelerate the damage that has already been done. In 2013, scientists discovered holes and tears in Curiosity's aluminum wheels, which drove them to significantly change the rover's planned course and their method of assessing the terrain. Luckily, though, sufficient precautions were taken, and there is no evidence of any damage or acceleration of damage to Curiosity's wheels after crossing the plateau.

Via NASA

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NASA
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