Curiosity Rover Begins Summer Road Trip to Avoid Sinking Sand

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Curiosity has been on Mars since 2012 and checking out Mount Sharp since 2014. While the rover has extended since exceeded its structure lifestyle, NASA isn’t getting any probabilities with its only active Mars rover, especially when the Perseverance launch has been pushed back again all over again. To reach the upcoming segment of Mount Sharp, Curiosity is location off on a summer street journey that will stay away from a dangerous sand trap. 

Curiosity commenced on the flooring of Gale Crater, which it explored for two yrs prior to starting its climb up the side of Mount Sharp. Which is the central peak inside the crater, composed of sedimentary layers that crafted up about time. This provides the rover an prospect to acquire a tour of Mars’ geological previous. 

NASA has been checking out the mountain’s so-called “clay-bearing unit” for the last several yrs, but the time has occur to depart that guiding. The upcoming segment of Mount Sharp is known as the “sulfate-bearing unit.” As the title indicates, this region incorporates sulfates like gypsum and Epsom salts. All those commonly kind when water evaporates, which could possibly help explain how and why the planet’s atmosphere changed 3 billion yrs back. 

The path Curiosity will acquire to reach the sulfate-bearing unit, composed of 116 photographs.

The issue with moving up to the upcoming segment of Mount Sharp is that a substantial subject of sand lies involving Curiosity and the sulfate-bearing unit. Rovers could possibly be able to reliably navigate patches of sand in the future, but not now. NASA has opted to drive Curiosity about the edge of the sand pit. It will acquire a few months to travel about a mile (1.6 kilometers) to reach the sulfate-bearing unit in this roundabout way. You can search ahead to new Curiosity images and info on Mount Sharp afterwards this yr. 

The team is excited to reach this new region. A brief peek at the sulfate-bearing unit from a hilltop highlighted modest nodules (in some cases called blueberries) that can only kind in the presence of water. Analyzing the sulfate-bearing unit could offer valuable insights that will manual the Perseverance mission upcoming yr. Assuming NASA can get it all set in time for the launch window in the coming months, this rover will arrive on the purple earth in early 2021 with a new suite of instruments made to search for proof of ancient lifestyle on Mars.

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