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The new damage on Curiosity’s wheels

Comparing a Curiosity wheel from January to June 2022
To see the original images, go here and here.

On June 23, 2022 the Curiosity team provided a major update on the rover’s status on Mars, noting that because of new damage discovered on one of wheels, they were increasing the frequency of their wheel checks from once every 1000 meters of travel to once every 500 meters.

The team discovered that the left middle wheel had damaged one of its grousers, the zig-zagging treads along Curiosity’s wheels. This particular wheel already had four broken grousers, so now five of its 19 grousers are broken.

The previously damaged grousers attracted attention online recently because some of the metal “skin” between them appears to have fallen out of the wheel in the past few months, leaving a gap.

The photo comparison to the right might be showing that specific wheel, or not. The top image was taken January 11, 2022, and when compared then with an image taken six months earlier showed little change. Thus, in January 2022 it seemed the wheels were holding up well as Curiosity traveled into the mountains.

The new image at the bottom, taken June 3, 2022, shows new damage (as indicated by the plus sign) which had occurred sometime in the past six months. During that time the rover had attempted to cross the incredibly rough ground of the Greenheugh Pediment, and had been forced to retreat because the ground was too rough.

This most recent wheel survey in June thus confirms that the decision to retreat was a wise one. It appears that while the rover’s wheels can take the general roughness of the terrain in the foothills of Mount Sharp, the Greenheugh Pediment was beyond the wheels’ capabilities.

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 available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can 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. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.

 

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

One comment

  • A general perusal of the wheel damage indicates significantly more damage between the images. Those wheels are taking a beating. Any info on how compromised the wheel has to be before it is non-functional (cannot support weight/climb slope)?

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