Link #139: NASA Drives Mars Rover Curiosity Backwards!


Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover

While we debunked the story that a human can jump hundreds of feet in the air on Mars, we did prove that it is possible for you to jump three times higher on Mars than on Earth in our last post. The reason why the initial fiction was faulty was that there wasn’t enough information about the red planet.

Since that time, multiple missions have been sent to Mars to gather information. The latest of these has been the Mars rover Curiosity. The purpose of the Mars rover Curiosity is to investigate signs of Mars having water in the past. The mission is quite interesting, by itself, but what’s even more interesting is that NASA actually chooses to drive Curiosity backwards all the way from here!

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How Does NASA Drive Mars Rover Curiosity Backwards?

While you may think of the Mars rover Curiosity like an automated car and may even be right in some ways, in other ways, it’s different from a car. Mars rover Curiosity is designed to be as efficient as possible so that NASA can get the most out of it. After all, they did spend around 1.5 billion American dollars on it.

Before the Mars rover Curiosity was sent on its one way journey, the scientists practiced driving it backwards on Earth as they projected a need for the same. This brings us to the key question of why NASA is driving the Mars rover Curiosity backwards.

Why Does NASA Drive Mars Rover Curiosity Backwards?

Even though driving an automated car sized robot on a faraway planet sounds like a very cool thing to do, it’s not the reason why NASA decided to do it. There’s a very practical and reasonable reason behind the Mars rover Curiosity being driven backwards.

The Mars rover Curiosity is being driven backwards because it allows the wear and tear on its tires to be reduced. This, in turn, means that the Mars rover Curiosity will remain in action for a longer period.

The decision to drive the Mars rover Curiosity backwards was taken by NASA when they found that the wear and tear on the wheels was much higher than previously expected.

This wear and tear came in the form of holes made by sharp stones on the surface of Mars. Driving backwards means that rear wheels face the rugged terrain before the front wheels which are already worse off because they took on the terrain first.

What Cool Gadgets Does Mars Rover Curiosity Have?

Martian rover Curiosity

The Mars rover Curiosity is considered to be the epitome of robot landing technologies right now. It contains a wide variety of super cool gadgets which other landing bots didn’t have in the past.

For instance, the Mars rover Curiosity has a very cool laser. The purpose of the laser is to vaporize hard to reach rocks and then analyse their composition. Another cool device on the Mars rover Curiosity is the drill which is located on a separate arm of the rover. The drill bores into rocks so that they can be analysed. The arm itself is cool because it can be moved in all types of directions.

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