Mars Curiosity Rover leaves tracks visible from space


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// September 8th, 2012 // Astronomy and Space News

Curiosity Rover has certainly left its mark on the planet Mars.  Photos taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been released showing the tire tracks left by Curiosity on the planet’s surface.  The bluish color spots are where Curiosity landed (named Bradbury landing after famous science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury) blowing Mars dust away from the touchdown area.  The shiny object on the right is Curiosity Rover itself.  The tracks show Curiosity’s first trip made on September 5, 2012, a 109 meter journey.  NASA is still running tests before allowing Curiosity Rover to continue its journey eastward Glenelg, a rock formation just east of the rover’s landing site.  NASA hopes to find evidence of alien life on Mars and the Glenelg area is unique in that it contains three different types of Martian terrain.  The samples Curiosity gathers can be analyzed remotely onboard Curiosity.  Curiosity’s robotic arm will pick the samples up and place them in ports where they can be analyzed.  NASA explained:

We will be putting the arm through a range of motions and placing it at important ‘teach points’ that were established during Earth testing, such as the positions for putting sample material into the inlet ports for analytical instruments. These activities are important to get a better understanding for how the arm functions after the long cruise to Mars and in the different temperature and gravity of Mars, compared to earlier testing on Earth.

Photo from space of Mars Curiosity Rover tire tracks

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