More wear found on Curiosity’s wheels

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Routine inspections of Curiosity’s wheels has found new damage on the rover’s left middle wheel.

None of this is unexpected. Nor is it a serious problem. They expected the wheels to wear out over time, though I must say that it seems to me that Curiosity’s wheels, in use now for about five years, do not seem to be doing as well as Opportunity’s, working on Mars for more than a dozen years. Opportunity was only supposed to last for 90 days. Curiosity was designed to last years. Yet, it seems that Curiosity’s wheels are wearing out faster than Opportunity’s.



  • “. . . .sitting on top of two million parts — all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract.”

    John Glenn

  • LocalFluff

    I think the difficulties with simulating Mars’ reduced gravity on Earth plays a part in this. The Mars 2020 rover will show how NASA has solved the wheel and drill problems. But then again, it will land in a different landscape and could encounter other challenges. Previously not seen small hard sharp rocks covering the entire landscape would be a setback even for the new reinforced rover wheels.

    It’s a really nice thing to have roads.

  • Orion314

    Not so nice to have rover wheels made out of crushed beer cans.

  • Frank

    Space exploration is hard. How many other countries have active rovers on planets?
    We do our best and learn from the results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *