NASA’s Curiosity rover has been roaming across Mars for more than two years. But all the driving has put some harsh wear on its aluminum wheels. Sharp rocks encountered on the Martian surface appear to have formed significant holes and tears in the tread. Using an engineering model of the rover’s chassis, researchers simulated driving conditions on the Red Planet and developed ways for the six-wheeled robot to push ahead on its journey. Curiosity has a few miles to go before it reaches Mount Sharp, its final destination. There it will sample the layers of rock at the mountain's base, which are believed to hold clues as to what the climate was like on the planet long ago. Watch the video to learn more.
Mars’ rugged terrain inflicts damage on Curiosity’s wheels.
How do researchers simulate driving on the Red Planet? Watch this video to find out.
The car-size rover has had to navigate rocky and sandy terrain on Mars.
Damage to the wheel tread is visible in these close-up images.
Mount Sharp rises from the foreground in this composite image taken by Curiosity.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Video courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
Images courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
- Kayvon Sharghi (USRA) [Lead]