|Mars rover Curiosity ‘selfie’|
Troubles seem to be far from over for the Mars rover Curiosity which is exploring the Martian surface in search of life. A review panel for the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has condemned the Rover Curiosity mission, saying it lack in its scientific focus.
The harsh reaction comes at a time when Mars rover Curiosity, which was launched in 2012, was spotted gazing at the Martian clouds, growing speculation among the panelists that it lacks scientific approach. Recently holes in the rover’s wheels were also reported. Moreover, NASA had to give up one of its drilling project at the Martian rock after it was found unfit for the rover.
The Planetary Mission Senior Review panel that carried an analysis of NASA’s seven planetary science missions expressed its disappointment over the success rate of Curiosity.
According to the review panel, the Curiosity mission is the NASA’s flagship Mars project which is the most expensive of the seven space missions that have got renewed funding from NASA. The panel said that seeing the extent of funding and the high expectations from the mission, Curiosity fails to make best out of its technical capabilities.
The review panel further expressed dismay saying the team behind the Curiosity mission only plans to study the eight samples during its extended mission, which is far less than the expectations from a high magnitude project like this. The panel also cited other technical problems with the Curiosity mission terming it as a poor science return to the large investment.
Recently, Curiosity was spotted gazing at the clouds of Mars, a development which was criticized by the review panel.
The rover had tweeted on September 3 that it was heading towards Pahrump Hills while advancing towards Mount Sharp for conducting geology work and search for clouds.
Robert Haberle, who is part of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) team, defended the action saying it was part of the study of martian environment.
According to him, clouds are a major part of the climate system of any planet and their behavior could give close insights about winds and temperatures of the Mars.