Click for full image.
In today’s Curiosity update written by planetary geologist Abigail Fraeman, she noted this significant fact:
Project scientist Ashwin Vasavada pointed out a great fact at the beginning of planning today: At around 4 o’clock in the afternoon on Sol 3199 (the first sol in the plan we are creating today), Curiosity will begin its 10th Earth year on Mars. In the last nine years, the rover has traveled 26.3 km [16.3 miles], climbed over 460 m [1,509 feet] in elevation, and collected 32 drilled samples of rock.
Her update includes the first image taken by Curiosity upon landing, a view of Mount Sharp using the rover’s front hazard camera. In that picture, the mountain is far away, as the rover was sitting on the flat floor of Gale Crater.
The photo above, cropped and enhanced to post here, was taken yesterday by one of Curiosity’s navigation cameras, and looks out across the rocky mountainous terrain the rover is soon to travel. As Fraeman also notes,
Click for interactive map.
After a morning of science, Curiosity will hit the road, driving ~14 m along our strategically planned route. This is an usually short drive for a day like today, and it’s because the terrain is so rocky that it’s hard to see too far beyond the rover’s current position. We don’t want to use too much autonomous driving in this rocky terrain and risk damaging the wheels.
The yellow lines in the overview map to the right shows the approximate area covered by the top photo. The red dotted line shows the rover’s planned route. The white dotted line shows its actual travels.
Curiosity is now moving among mountains several hundred feet high.
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