In mission creep news, a new photo (shown above) from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the car-sized robot at the southern pole of the planet Dune, debating whether or not to drive over and see what’s happening on that planet.
Curiosity’s handlers are studying the new photo — a mosaic composed of sandworm teeth and melange — as they map out the rover’s next steps.
Dune, also known as Arrakis, experienced a rare conjunction with Mars, which brought the two planets within driving distance on January 30th.
Asked for comment, Curiosity didn’t seem particularly excited about the new assignment. “I can’t believe the mission creeps are thinking of adding another planet to this trip! First they drop me in a huge crater to determine if Maybe Mars has life that could have been brought to Earth by space dinosaurs. Then they want me to go to someplace called Dingo Gap to look for uneaten babies. And now they want me to cross a sandworm-infested desert just to pick up some spice for them? I still haven’t forgiven them for all the wear and tear my six wheels have accumulated from the terrain.”
In the end, Curiosity seemed resigned to the extra responsibilities. “I was just hoping to kick back, read a history of the Red Planet’s changing environmental conditions, maybe check out rocks and other geological formations that look particularly interesting. But I guess a rover’s work is far from done.”
(Click on the picture to read the original story.)