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A daily newsletter charting the future: From technology to the scientific breakthroughs changing our lives.

Driving on Mars just got safer for Curiosity, thanks to a special algorithm

Virtually alone in the Martian landscape, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has no one to turn to if it gets into trouble. As NASA puts it: “There are no mechanics on Mars, so the next best thing for [a] rover is careful driving.” So in June 2017, NASA engineers deployed a traction-control algorithm they uploaded to Curiosity. The software uses real-time data to adjust each wheel’s speed and reduce pressure from the rocky ground.

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