The wheel tracks in this image are an artifact of the difficult terrain faced recently by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity deep inside "Endurance Crater." Opportunity took the picture with its navigation camera on the rover's 205th martian day, or sol (Aug. 21, 2004). On the preceding sol, to avoid a potentially hazardous rock target, the rover team changed routes. Steep slopes and lack of traction when driving in this terrain caused the rover to experience up to 50 percent slip during parts of its traverse. Opportunity ended up more than 50 centimeters (about 20 inches) downslope from the planned final position. Another shift in objective on sol 205 had Opportunity on the move again toward safer terrain. Analysis of the final drive showed the rover's traction increasing during its latest moves.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL
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