Damage to the Mars Curiosity rover could spell its end

NASA's Curiosity rover has snapped images of its wheels following years of traversing the Gale Crater, showing significant damage.

@AdamHuntTT
Published Wed, Feb 9 2022 4:41 AM CST   |   Updated Mon, Mar 7 2022 4:29 PM CST

The Curiosity rover has snapped some images showing the state of its wheels.

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NASA's Curiosity rover has spanned 3381 Martian sols and counting, or nine and a half Earth years, and it hasn't all been smooth sailing. Large chunks have been taken out of the six aluminum wheels the rover is equipped with, but NASA is confident that Curiosity still has plenty of tread left on the tires, so to speak.

"The current predicted odometry remaining is expected to be sufficient to support Curiosity throughout the remainder of the mission," Andrew Good, a spokesman for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, told Space.com.

While exploring the Gale Crater on the surface of Mars, the rover has covered 16.86 miles (27.14 kilometers) to date, across rough terrain. Early on in its mission, the rover's handlers began assigning more easy-going routes to mitigate the rover accumulating excessive damage. Updates since have also given Curiosity tools such as traction control software to adjust its speed according to the terrain it is traversing.

The rover monitors the state of its wheels using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to take photos of them every 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). Before the countermeasures mentioned above, the rover would take these images every 500 meters (1,650 feet).

You can view all of the new and old images taken by the various cameras on board the Curiosity rover on NASA's website.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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