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Curiosity’s “Bootprint” on Mars

Looking very similar to the iconic first footprint on the Moon from the Apollo 11 landing, this new raw image from the Curiosity rover on Mars shows one of the first “scuff” marks from the rover’s wheels on a small sandy ridge. This image was taken today by Curiosity’s right Navcam on Sol 57 (2012-10-03 19:08:27 UTC). Rover driver Matt Heverly described a scuff as spinning one wheel to move the soil below it out of the way.

Besides being on different worlds, the two prints likely have a very different future. NASA says the first footprints on the Moon will be there for a million years, since there is no wind to blow them away. Research on the tracks left by Spirit and Opportunity revealed the time scale for track erasure by wind is typically only one Martian year or two Earth years.

Here’s one of Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint, to compare:

The GRIN website (Great Images in NASA) says this is an image of Buzz Aldrin’s bootprint from the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Credit: NASA

Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger compared earlier images of some of the first tracks left on Mars by Curiosity to images of the footprints left by Aldrin and Armstrong on the Moon. “I think instead of a human, it’s a robot pretty much doing the same thing,” he said.

Lead Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • SJStar October 4, 2012, 2:32 AM

    Eight degrees of freedom and you can link just about anything.
    Relevance, please.

    • squidgeny October 5, 2012, 4:28 PM

      Nancy could come right out and say she posted this article specifically to annoy you and I would give it a thumbs up :P

  • Guest October 4, 2012, 3:13 AM

    SJStar, R2 and 3PO can do the same job that humans can do with less risk but the glory goes to the designers, those that are really good at math and science.

  • David Corby October 4, 2012, 3:15 AM

    SJStar, R2 and 3P0 can do the same job as humans except the glory for discovery goes to the people that are good at math and science not the cowboys.

  • TangTew October 4, 2012, 11:53 AM

    Dude tell me thats not like the coolest hing ever.
    PrivacyProject.tk

  • bugzzz October 4, 2012, 4:12 PM

    Symbolic somehow, b/c it will likely be intelligent machines that ultimately explore our solar system and galaxy since only they can survive deep space. Or intelligent machines derived or merged with human intelligence.

  • Jerry Alez Jerry Alez October 4, 2012, 9:37 PM

    That looks like some incredibly fine particles on Mars.

  • Mike October 4, 2012, 10:41 PM

    They look almost the same except for the zig-zag rather than straight lines like the boot.

  • Aqua4U October 5, 2012, 3:26 PM

    So very interesting… that the soils here look much the same as the soils at the SPIRIT LZ, when the landing bags made patterns in the soil/dust that looked like melted chocolate pudding. These ‘footprints’ show that same feature along the margins… aka pudding like.

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