NASA's Curiosity robot is equipped with sturdy aluminum wheels, but they do not come out easily on Mars. The rocky landscape of the red planet continues to wreak havoc on the rover, as new images of the damage to the wheels show.
On July 7, the rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the end of his robotic arm to look closely at his wheels, inspecting the bottom of the boots. rocky hike.
The wheels are bumpy and punched for crossing rough terrain. What is most worrying is the many cracks and holes visible through the steps.
Although the damage looks scary, the wheels do a good job.
"Although the wheels have developed holes, tests and modeling done since the beginning of 2014 indicate that Curiosity can still travel several kilometers on these wheels," said Roger Craig Wiens, member of the Curiosity team, in a mission update.
The rover has traveled 20.91 kilometers (12.99 miles) since arriving on Mars in 2012, so the wheels should still be usable for a while.
NASA regularly monitors Curiosity wheels. ALooked as striking as the new pictures. The damage will not improve, but the Curiosity team has developed smart methods to fix it, including adjusting the speed of the rover wheels to reduce the pressure of the rocks.
With, Curiosity is the only remaining mobile NASA on the planet. At least until the rover arrives.