Here is an image of one of the wheels of the Mars rover Curiosity taken on Sol 995 (2015-05-25).
I’ve been watching the surprising amount of wear on the wheels of the rover since last year and I know the Mission Team is too. At least some of the drive planning has taken the wear into account.
As you can see the Martian terrain is tough on “tires”. The good part is the wheels don’t “appear” to be worn too much more than they were six months ago and they are not keeping Curiosity from doing great science. The next Mars rover, called the 2020 Rover (for its launch date) is based on Curiosity, I suspect there will be some changes to the wheels.
By the way: the 2020 Rover is still in the pre-planning stage, you can get an idea of what they are looking at by visiting here. Who knows, perhaps some engineering student reading this will be working on the project.
The Curiosity rover took this picture of the Martian sunset. The image was taken on 15 April 2015 from Gale Crater.
The image was taken by the “left-eye” of Curiosity’s Mast Camera on the rovers 956th Martian day. The image has been processed to remove artifacts and was white-balanced. The image does a pretty good job of showing what we would see if we were on the planet and someday perhaps we will.
The Martian atmosphere has fine particles of dust that allow blue light to penetrate the atmosphere than longer wavelengths like yellows and reds which are scattered. This is unlike we see here on Earth where the scattering effect is alomost the other way around. The effect is also more pronounced at sunset than at mid-day. So on Mars blue sunsets are the norm.
Seen here with its robotic arm extended studying a rock called “Athens”, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is still actively involved in science even after 3,970 days on Mars!
A couple of weeks before checking out “Athens” the rover took four images with the Pancam of the area called Marathon Valley located on the western rim of Endeavour Crater from its vantage point overlooking the valley.
The scene spans from east to southeast and the image was taken on 13 March 2015. The view is very close to the true color.
In the last Curiosity post the rover had undergone a fault condition. A “transient short circuit” triggered an on-board fault-protection program to halt activity on 27 February. The mission team took a few days to test and determine the cause. In the meantime a sample from a Telegraph Hill drilling was held for testing. Satisfied the problem has been cleared, the rover continues on and the sample has been delivered to the on-board laboratory.
The plan is drive Curiosity through the Artist’s Drive valley to reach higher layers of Mount Sharp.
The map was made in part from data from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
A problem has developed with the Mars Science Laboratory also known as Curiosity.
The image above shows the drill section of the rover after it finished drilling into “Telegraph Peak” on 24 February 2015. On 27 February 2015 as the sample was being transferred the sample powder obtained from the drilling process an electrical “irregularity” triggered a fault-protection event. The fault-protection event halted the process because it stopped the arm activity.
Telemetry indicates a transient short circuit occurred prompting the pre-programmed response to the anomolous condition by stopping activity; hopefully sparing the rover further damage. Mission managers are running tests and will continue to work through the problem. In all likelyhood Curiosity will be back to work soon — stay tuned.
The other day I was checking out images of Curiosity and thought the rover was pretty clean. Turns out only be parts of the rover are clean. This selfie shows quite a bit of dust build up.
It’s a great picture. You really should have a look at the full image at the Mars Science Laboratory website. Not only will you get a very large image with great detail on the rover, there is also the wonderful terrain.
Curious about how a rover can take a selfie?
The scene combines dozens of images taken during January 2015 by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. The pale “Pahrump Hills” outcrop surrounds the rover, and the upper portion of Mount Sharp is visible on the horizon. Darker ground at upper right and lower left holds ripples of wind-blown sand and dust.
The annotated version above labels several of the sites Curiosity has investigated during three passes up the Pahrump Hills outcrop examining the outcrop at increasing levels of detail. The rover used its sample-collecting drill at “Confidence Hills” as well as at Mojave, and in late February was assessing “Telegraph Peak” as a third drilling site.
The view does not include the rover’s robotic arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic’s component images. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images, or portions of images, that were used in this mosaic.