Multimedia Features

After a Crabwalk Test
07.10.09
 
Mars Exploration Rover team members prepare a testing setup for the Spirit rover.

Mars Exploration Rover team members prepare a testing setup for a subsequent experiment after an experiment driving the rover in a crablike motion, with all four corner wheels angled to the right. Clockwise from top: Scott Maxwell, Pauline Hwang, Kim Lichtenberg.

This work on July 9, 2009, was part of a series of tests at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., designed to determine the best way to get NASA's Spirit rover out of a Martian patch of soft soil called "Troy," where Spirit's wheels have dug in. The test setup, in a box that team members are calling the dustbin, simulates the situation at Troy. The box holds about 2.7 tons of a powdery mixture of diatomaceous earth and fire clay. This material has physical properties similar to the soil at Troy. The top surface is sloped at 10 degrees.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

› Full resolution jpeg (716 Kb)