PIA16093: Curiosity Leaves Its Mark
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
 Spacecraft:  Curiosity
 Product Size:  1024 x 1024 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  JPL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA16093.tif (1.05 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA16093.jpg (245.6 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

This image shows a close-up of track marks from the first test drive of NASA's Curiosity rover. The rover's arm is visible in the foreground. A close inspection of the tracks reveals a unique, repeating pattern: Morse code for JPL. This pattern, visible as straight bands across the zigzag track marks, can be used as a visual reference to help the rover drive accurately.

Curiosity's "visual odometry" software measures terrain features -- such as rocks, rock shadows and patterns in the rover tracks -- to determine the precise distance between drive steps. Knowing how far it has traveled is important for measuring any wheel slippage that may have occurred, for instance due to high slopes or sandy ground. Fine-grained terrains generally lack interesting features, so Curiosity can make its own features using its wheel tracks.

The Morse code, imprinted on all six wheels, is: .--- (J), .--. (P), and .-.. (L). JPL is short for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where the rover was built and the mission is managed.

JPL manages the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more about NASA's Curiosity mission, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl, http://www.nasa.gov/mars, and http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

Image Credit:

Image Addition Date: