Feeds

Curiosity now going BACKWARDS

There's no spare parts shop on Mars

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.