Curiosity’s “Bootprint” on Mars

Article written: 4 Oct , 2012
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015
by

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

Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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9 Responses

  1. SJStar says

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

    • Member
      squidgeny says

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

  2. Guest says

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. TangTew says

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

  5. bugzzz says

    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.

  6. That looks like some incredibly fine particles on Mars.

  7. Mike says

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

  8. Member
    Aqua4U says

    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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