Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 1:22 EDT
Curiosity Mars Rovers Shadow After Long Backward Drive
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Curiosity Mars Rover's Shadow After Long Backward Drive

February 19, 2014
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover caught its own shadow in this image taken just after completing a drive of 329 feet (100.3 meters) on the 547th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Feb. 18, 2014). The drive was the mission's first use of driving backward for more than short-distance positioning. Techniques for long drives in reverse with Curiosity have been developed with testing on Earth as one way to reduce wear and tear to the rover's aluminum wheels when crossing terrain with sharp rocks. The Sol 547 drive made first use of the technique on smoother terrain. The ground the rover crossed is relatively free of sharp rocks. It has some linear patterns in the ground, as evident in the parallel features slanting from lower left toward upper right in this image. The image was taken with the left-eye camera of Curiosity's stereo Navigation Camera (Navcam). 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 and Navcam. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech