Curiosity's Navcams View Its Wheels
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover captured this image of its right rear wheels using its navigation cameras on June 1, the 3,846th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The image was taken while the rover was attempting to climb a 23-degree slope covered with slippery sand and wheel-size boulders.
Rover tracks from the approach to this location can be seen in the sand at the top of the image. The rover slipped in the sand, causing it to veer off its intended route and prompting its right middle wheel to drive up on to the bright, long rock seen at the left of the image.
Driving over this rock was not intended, and the large movement of the suspension triggered a safety fault, stopping the drive. In response, rover planners chose to back away from this spot and try climbing the slope a few feet from here. Curiosity experienced several more faulted drives before a decision was made to pursue a detour on less difficult terrain about 492 feet (150 meters) away.
Curiosity was built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California. JPL leads the mission on behalf of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
For more about Curiosity, visit: http://mars.nasa.gov/msl.