Feeds

NASA's spy sat snaps Curiosity rover burning tracks on Mars

Life-hunting nuke tank's trail visible from space

Top three mobile application threats

Curiosity Rover has left a mark on Mars that is visible from space. The rover's maiden journey across the Red Planet has left tire tracks that have been photographed by the high resolution camera on NASA's Mars Reconaissance Orbiter.

The snap released by NASA today shows where the tyres have scuffed the red surface dust off the darker basaltic sand beneath. The Mars rover is visible at the end of the tracks and the dark smudge where the tracks start is the landing spot of the Rover, showing where the impact also blew off surface dust, leaving a dark mark.

The tracks of the Curiosity Mars Rover seen from space, credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The tracks of the Curiosity Mars Rover seen from space. Picture credit: NASA

The tracks map the rover's first journey since landing - a 109m trip on Wednesday. Curiosity snapped its own tracks from its onboard camera on the day. The orbiter picture gives a more zoomed out view.

The Rover is now testing out the kit in its 2.1m robotic arm - practising drilling and scooping, as well as checking that it can insert samples back into the correct portals on its body - in tests that will take six to 10 days. Astro boffins at NASA want to make sure everything is still working after the rover's impact with the Red Planet. Daniel Limonadi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said:

We will be putting the arm through a range of motions and placing it at important 'teach points' that were established during Earth testing, such as the positions for putting sample material into the inlet ports for analytical instruments. These activities are important to get a better understanding for how the arm functions after the long cruise to Mars and in the different temperature and gravity of Mars, compared to earlier testing on Earth.

After the tests are complete, Curiosity will travel for a few weeks eastward toward Glenelg, a rock formation just east of the rover's landing site. The science team selected that area as likely to offer a good target for gathering Mars dust. Curiosity will drill into a rock to gather samples and then analyse them with its inbuilt tools.

The tracks themselves are also interesting to NASA, which will observe them as time passes for information about how the surface changes over time, and how dust is eroded and deposited. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.