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ROVER NAVIGATION DURING SURFACE OPERATIONS
Summary | Understand Distance | Avoid Hazards | Create Maps |
Keep Balanced | Know Direction | Traverse Far and Well

Traverse Far and Well

The maximum achievable traverse distance depends on how early the traverse is begun, the amount of energy available for a traverse (the solar panel power degrades over the life of the mission as Mars gets farther away from the sun or as dust accumulates), the terrain type (rocky or smooth), and the time limits given by the flight team or the timeouts automatically incurred along the traverse.

Although the rover is capable of traveling up to 100 meters (328 feet) per sol, a "safe" traverse (where humans can see the rover´s path ahead of time) in terrain equivalent to where Viking 1 landed most likely will be around 40 meters (130 feet) in a single sol.

To learn more about how the scientists and engineers select where the rovers will go, how they will get there, and what the rovers will do each martian sol, please see: Science Operations.

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