NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, which is exploring the Martian surface in search of life supporting substances, may now require to change its route and find out an alternative pathway to the base of a massive mountain after it got stuck in sandy ‘Hidden Valley’.
According to the NASA scientists, the one-tonne rover was proceeding towards a 5.5 kilometres mountain ‘Mount Sharp’, which is located at the centre of Mars’ Gale Crater, when it stuck into a sandy swale ‘Hidden Valley’, which is about the length of a football ground.
As soon as the rover entered the north-eastern end of the valley, it turned back finding the sand swale very slippery, the Space.com reported quoting NASA officials.
“We need to gain a better understanding of the interaction between the wheels and Martian sand ripples, and Hidden Valley is not a good location for experimenting,” said Curiosity project manager Jim Erickson.
Erickson works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
According to the NASA officials, there is no exit point of the valley except from northeastern and southwestern ends. However, they are trying to explore possible alternative paths that would take the rover north of the sandy valley.
The NASA mission team also briefed about the future plans of the Curiosity. The ultimate science destination of the rover since beginning has been to reach Mount Sharp.
A new report said that the main goal of the USD 2.5 billion mission is to decide if Mars could ever have supported microbial life.
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