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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover changed course due to slippery slope

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover mounted a hill on Thursday to reach another site inexploring a geological boundary, after a similarsite proved difficult to approach.

The 72 feet (22 meters) drive on the high ground (21 degrees steep) halted Curiosity to a marked area where two unique graded bedrock was sighted. Curiosity studied the pale rock present on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp beforehand and now the science team wishes to get a closer look at the shadier, bedded rock situated near the outcrop.

The first target site was spotted farther south about two weeks ago, but Curiosity was blocked on its way by greasy slopes.

“Mars can be very deceptive,” said Chris Roumeliotis, Curiosity’s lead rover driver at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. The polygonal sand ripples made Curiosity’s route to slip in the past, and during its existing advancements the routes were seemingly rockier, stronger in characteristics directly adjacent to these ripples. Chris Roumeliotis expected the route to be firmer hoping for a better grip on its ground for Curiosity. Unfortunately, the terrain proved to be confined with unconsolidated materials, startling Chris and his team.

Curiosity faced wheel slippage excessively on its four drives between May 7th and May 13th.

The rover’s current software regulates the slippage quantity by comparing the wheel-rotation tally to actual drive distance. It is summed up by assessing the images clicked during its drive.

“We decided to go back to Jocko Butte, and, in parallel, work with the scientists to identify alternate routes,” Roumeliotis explained. The team examined the images for several days from the rover and from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Satellite and chose a new and a better route for both short-term and long-term objectives.

Curiosity’s exploration began in 2012 reaching the base of Mount Sharp last year. Since then the exploration was effectively investigating the visible rock formation on its surface adjacent to the landing site in and around the mountains. The current key mission objective of Curiosity is to determine the higher layers of Mount Sharp.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena built the Mars Curiosity Roverin order to manage the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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Name: Joselyn King

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