Curiosity Gives us a Rearward View of Its Dingo Gap Crossing

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.

Illustration for article titled Curiosity Gives us a Rearward View of Its Dingo Gap Crossing


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It's kind of weird, and creepy, and also mind blowingly awesome and amazing, that these are images from the surface of another planet.

No matter how many images are taken and shared, no matter how old they get, it'll still give me that mixture of feelings...