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Movie of Curiositys View Backwards While Crossing Dune
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Movie of Curiosity's View Backwards While Crossing Dune

February 19, 2014
The series of nine images making up this animation were taken by the rear Hazard-Avoidance Camera (rear Hazcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover as the rover drove over a dune spanning "Dingo Gap" on Mars. The Hazcam, mounted low on the vehicle's chassis, provides a wide-angle view. Curiosity made this 23-foot (7 meter) drive during the 535th Martian day, or sol, of its work on Mars (Feb. 6, 2014). At the start of the drive, the rover's right-front wheel was already at the crest of the 3-foot-tall (1-meter-tall) dune, with the rover still pointed uphill. By the last three images in the series, the rover was headed downhill. The light-toned dome on the right side of the horizon is part of Mount Sharp. This drive was westward. The rover's long-term destination on the lower slope of Mount Sharp is still farther west and south from the rover's current location. Dingo Gap provided an entryway into a valley to the west. The valley appealed to the rover team as a driving route because its terrain includes fewer sharp rocks than alternative routes considered. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech