Breaks Observed in Rover Wheel Treads

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Two of a lifted treads, called grousers, on a left center circle of NASA’s Curiosity Mars corsair pennyless during a initial entertain of 2017, including a one seen partially isolated during a tip of a circle in this picture from a Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on a rover’s arm. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

A slight check of a aluminum wheels on NASA’s Curiosity Mars corsair has found dual tiny breaks on a rover’s left center wheel-the latest pointer of wear and rip as a corsair continues a journey, now coming a 10-mile (16 kilometer) mark.

The mission’s initial and second breaks in lifted treads, called grousers, seemed in a Mar 19 picture check of a wheels, documenting that these breaks occurred after a final check, on Jan. 27.

“All 6 wheels have some-more than adequate operative lifespan remaining to get a car to all destinations designed for a mission,” pronounced Curiosity Project Manager Jim Erickson during NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “While not unexpected, this repairs is a initial pointer that a left center circle is impending a wheel-wear milestone,”

The monitoring of circle repairs on Curiosity, and a module of wheel-longevity contrast on Earth, was instituted after dents and holes in a wheels were seen to be accumulating faster than approaching in 2013. Testing showed that during a indicate when 3 grousers on a circle have broken, that circle has reached about 60 percent of a useful life. Curiosity already has driven good over that fragment of a sum stretch indispensable for reaching a pivotal regions of systematic seductiveness on Mars’ Mount Sharp.

Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, also during JPL, said, “This is an approaching partial of a life cycle of a wheels and during this indicate does not change a stream scholarship skeleton or lessen a chances of study pivotal transitions in mineralogy aloft on Mount Sharp.”

Curiosity is now examining silt dunes partway adult a geological section called a Murray formation. Planned destinations forward embody a hematite-containing “Vera Rubin Ridge,” a clay-containing geological section above that ridge, and a sulfate-containing section above a clay unit.

The corsair is climbing to sequentially aloft and younger layers of revoke Mount Sharp to examine how a region’s ancient meridian altered billions of years ago. Clues about environmental conditions are available in a stone layers. During a initial year on Mars, a idea succeeded during a categorical idea by anticipating that a segment once offering environmental conditions auspicious for microbial life, if Mars has ever hosted life. The conditions in permanent ancient freshwater Martian lake environments enclosed all of a pivotal chemical elements indispensable for life as we know it, and a chemical source of appetite that is used by many microbes on Earth.

Through Mar 20, Curiosity has driven 9.9 miles (16.0 kilometers) given a mission’s Aug 2012 alighting on Mars. Studying a transition to a sulfate unit, a farthest-uphill destination, will need about 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) or reduction of additional driving. For a past 4 years, corsair expostulate planners have used extended methods of mapping potentially dangerous terrains to revoke a gait of repairs from sharp, embedded rocks along a rover’s route.

Each of Curiosity’s 6 wheels is about 20 inches (50 centimeters) in hole and 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide, milled out of plain aluminum. The wheels hit belligerent with a skin that’s about half as thick as a U.S. dime, solely during thicker treads. The grousers are 19 zigzag-shaped treads that extend about a entertain in. (three-fourths of a centimeter) external from a skin of any wheel. The grousers bear many of a rover’s weight and yield many of a traction and ability to span over disproportionate terrain.

Source: JPL

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