Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Martian dune buggy

Here's a great video of a "scarecrow" version of Curiosity climbing up a sandy slope in Dumont Dunes.  Scott Maxwell (JPL, twitter @marsroverdriver) narrates the video.  Scott will be one of several stellar rover drivers that will help make sure that Curiosity can actually do what we ask it to on the surface of Mars.

Steep sandy slopes are a challenge for any vehicle!  Watch how the wheels slip.  And on Mars, there is no one to pile out of the rover with a shovel to help.  I have vivid memories of sand in a canyon in Namibia that include shovels, frustration, incautious driving, wood and rocks under wheels...  

Mike Malin (MastCam and MARDI PI) at the Dumont Dunes test.

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