NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover begins summer road trip ahead of its 8th landing anniversary
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: NASA’s Curosity Mars rover has started its summer road trip to the red planet ahead of its 8th landing anniversary on August 6.
The road trip which will continue across roughly 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) of the terrain is a part of nearly its eight-year-old mission to search for conditions that may have supported ancient microbial life on the planet.
By the end of this trip, the rover will climb farther up a mountain and will ascend to the next section of the Martian mountain it's been exploring since 2014.
Curosity is going to move ahead to an area on the 3.4-mile-high (5.5 km) Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons) that is located on the floor of Gale Crater, is nicknamed as the "sulfate-bearing unit."
According to a report by Space.com, these sulfates are usually formed around water as it evaporates, and these leftovers are going to be helpful in providing more information about how the surface of Mars has changed roughly three billion years ago, at the time when the planet lost most of its atmosphere and running water was absent on the surface of Red Planet.
Interestingly, the planners of Rover are commanding Curiosity from home rather than their offices at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, as a pandemic containment measure.
"Curiosity can't drive entirely without humans in the loop. But it does have the ability to make simple decisions along the way to avoid large rocks or risky terrain. It stops if it doesn't have enough information to complete a drive on its own," Matt Gildner, lead rover driver at JPL, was quoted as saying to space.com.
He adds that the rover also has some capability to drive on its own, using artificial intelligence.
NASA plans to send a new rover called Perseverance and which must launch between July 30 and Aug. 15 from Florida to reach the Red Planet this summer before Mars and Earth drift too far apart in their respective orbits.
Posted By: Simran Babbar