Curiosity Rover Set To Embark On Daring Maneuver
NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover is preparing to embark on its most dangerous maneuver since landing on the planet's surface. Currently, Curiosity finds itself cut off from an area called the 'Dingo Gap' (pictured above) by a 1 meter tall sand dune, which the hi-tech rover must traverse if it is to reach its goal. However, NASA rovers have had problems with the sandy surface of Mars in the past and the Curiosity team will be taking every precaution to ensure their rover doesn't meet the same fate as the Spirit Rover which fell foul of a sand trap in 2009.
While climbing a meter-tall sand dune is not ideal, NASA's JPL believe that this lofty route is far better than the lower lying rocky alternative. Curiosity's aluminium wheels have taken a battering from Mars's rocky terrain and it is hoped that taking a route over the sand will help preserve the rover's most precious component.
Should Curiosity succeed in making it into the valley, the rover will be faced with a potentially huge 'data-packed' region with which to hunt for signs of habitability. Currently the rover is cautiously testing the dune's surface to uncover any signs of weakness and may make a move over the dune by the end of the week.