Feeds

Curiosity now going BACKWARDS

There's no spare parts shop on Mars

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Putting a nuclear-powered, laser-armed space tank on Mars is one of humanity’s most remarkable achievements, and now we've even figured out how to make it go backwards!

Curiosity, the space tank in question, last week shifted into “R” and travelled just over 100 metres in a single day. That's the longest distance the rover has moved in about three months and a decent slice of the 5.21km it has travelled since landing in August 2012.

NASA's very pleased with the backwards journey because it thinks that the craft's wheels sustain less damage when it is in reverse. While last week's journey did not include notably nasty terrain, NASA has identified some rock-strewn areas between the craft's current location and Mount Sharp, the mission's current target as it has been identified as offering the chance to examine what NASA describes as “water-related minerals”.

Reversing the rover means it can add backwards motion to what NASA calls a “validated toolkit” of manoeuvres that can be deployed without causing undue risk.

As there are no known auto clubs or spare parts shops on Mars, testing reverse driving makes a lot of sense: replacement wheels are hard to come by on the Red Planet. Unless Curiosity discovers something most unexpected at Mount Sharp. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.