NASA Mars Rover Climbs to Find New Rock Features

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The NASA Mars Rover Curiosity is continuing its Mars adventure as the Mars rover climbs up a hillside to make a new geological discovery. The Curiosity Mars Rover made a trek of 72 feet up a steep 21-degree slope to take a peek at some pale-colored rocks on Mars’ Mount Sharp, as well as some dark colored rocks they had yet to see at close proximity.

Hillsides Prove Difficult to Traverse

The Mars rover climbs up hillsides with some difficulty in its travel in the past, as it sometimes finds the slopes very slippery. The scientists have noticed that the Mars rover climbs were more difficult in the area of the planet with ripples in the sand. With this in mind, they took the rover around the rippled area around the crater they want to explore and thought it would be on firmer ground. However, the travel was still slippery and so it turned out not to be the best area for its continued adventure.

Mars Rover Climbs Sometimes Need Alternate Route

This has happened in several of the Mars rover climbs in the past, so sometimes the rover has to stop in mid-adventure to find a safer route. When this happens, the scientists have to use data from previous observations the rover has recorded and those from satellite images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in Mars orbit to figure out a different route to take in their studies of the Mars terrain. Therefore, they have determined several alternate routes of travel to use if the Mars rover climbs prove too difficult or dangerous for the rover to handle, say its drivers at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is in Pasadena, California.
There are many other areas on Mars that the researchers hope to observe and study in the future, so the Mars rover climbs will get more scientific as it travels around the Red Planet.

Mars Rover Climbs Determined by its Software

Mars rover climbs are determined by its onboard software, which calculates possible amounts of slippage by comparing the tally of its wheel rotation to the real driving distance, which is figured out by calculating the data the rover gets as it makes its travel.

As the Mars rover continues the adventure of studying the Red Planet, the Mars rover climbs could get more slippery and harder for it to travel. Scientists will continue to need to make proper calculations to keep the rover safe and on all six wheels so it can keep making discoveries about Mars and sharing them with the world.