NASA's Mars Curiosity rover still taking a beating from Red Planet rocks
Cnet.com - Thu 11 Jul 20:18 GMT

The Red Planet rover is feeling the rocks more than ever, but they won't slow its roll.

  NASA's Curiosity rover is equipped with tough aluminum wheels, but they're not getting off easy on Mars.

  The red planet's rocky landscape continues to take a toll on the rover, as new images of wheel damage show.

  The rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the the end of its robotic arm to take a close look at its wheels on July 7.

  "Although the wheels have developed some holes, the testing and modeling that have been done since early 2014 indicate that Curiosity can still travel a number of kilometers on these wheels," Curiosity team member Roger Craig Wiens wrote in a mission update.

  The rover has traveled 12.99 miles (20.91 kilometers) since reaching Mars in 2012, so the wheels should still be serviceable for quite some time.

  The damage won't get better, but Curiosity's team has devised clever ways to work through it, including adjusting the speed of the rover's wheels to reduce pressure from rocks.

  With Opportunity now defunct, Curiosity is NASA's only remaining Mars rover.