Who do you call when you get a flat tire 33.9 million miles from home?
NASA Curiosity rover has shown off dramatic damage received from its travels on the Red Planet.
The car-sized vehicle has been exploring the challenging terrain of Mars’ Gale Crater and Mount Sharp since it landed in August 2012.
Amazing highlights captured by its cameras have included ‘postcard’-like scenes, and quirky rocks that have resembled a book and a doorway.
The rover reported on Wednesday (12 July): “Mars is a rocky place, and my wheels take the brunt of it. But that doesn’t stop me from exploring!
“My team says my wheels are holding up. Plus: A software update I got in April helps minimize steering, which improves my mobility and reduces the wear that comes from steering.
“Again, no need to worry too much about my wheels! Wear and tear is inevitable. And in a worst-case scenario, I can actually strip off the damaged parts and drive on the rims.”
Curiosity’s mission goals include an investigation of the Martian climate and geology, an assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, and planetary habitability studies in preparation for human exploration.
The rover is still operational, and as of 12 July 2023, has been active on Mars for 3885 sols (3992 total days; 10 years, 340 days) since its landing.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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