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Curiosity’s wheels: Maybe not so bad after all

Comparison of one wheel on Curiosity
To see the original images, go here and here.

Today the science team for the Mars rover Curiosity downloaded more photos of its wheels, a survey taken routinely now after every 500 meters or 1640 feet of travel. Unlike the pictures made available yesterday that showed some of the worst damage to one of Curiosity’s middle wheels, these new images included the wheel I have been tracking since 2017 as a baseline to see if further damage has occurred.

The photos to the right show that wheel, with the top photo from August and the bottom created from two pictures taken on November 20, 2022. The numbers indicate the matching treads. The “+” sign in the top image indicates a location where new damage was spotted in August.

As you can see, this wheel does not appear to have experienced any additional damage in the more than three months since that August update. While the damage to Curiosity’s wheels remains very concerning, it does appear based on this one wheel that — despite the generally very rough terrain the rover has been traversing since it entered the foothills of Mount Sharp — the wheels in general seem to be holding up.

Though I have not done a careful comparison of these new wheel images with earlier ones, none of the new images appear to show any additional significant damage. It appears that the travel criteria the science team adopted years ago — right after discovering the wheel damage — continues to work to protect the wheels. It picks the rover’s path more carefully to avoid sharper rocks, and includes software that stops the rover should it sense it is crossing a rock sharper than desired.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

2 comments

  • Andi

    Maybe it’s the lighting, but the damage to Tread 5 looks a bit more severe to me in the second picture.

  • Andi: I think it is the lighting. Having looked at a lot of this images, I have found often that the light can make sections seem missing when they are simply not lit, and they reappear in a later photo.

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