When NASA's Curiosity rover successfully navigated Dingo Gap, its cameras were rolling. These images show what the rover saw from its rear Hazard-Avoidance Camera as it spanned the treacherous sand dune.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.


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.


Not a bad bit of Martian six-wheeling, if we do say so ourselves. Here's the rover's view from the far side of Dingo Gap, captured by the Navcam on Curiosity's mast following its successful passage.