NASA's Curiosity rover went on a hiatus from science operations after it encountered a in September. It's now back at work. The rover's position on Mars hasn't changed, but the view of the surface nearby sure has.
A view of the rover's location from before the data glitch shows an aborted drilling operation that left a smattering of gray dust across the reddish-brown landscape. The new look from late October shows the same spot wiped clean of the tailings and swept of the brown soil and red dust that was there before.
"So while Curiosity has been sitting still, the winds have been moving, sweeping the workspace clean," Rice writes.
The Curiosity team plans to take close-up images of the cleaned area to investigate details in the rock, particularly the lighter veins "peppered with interesting dark inclusions." The rover's cameras will also look around to see if it can spot more changes from the wind.
The scene at Curiosity's work site shows whyoff the solar panels on the long-silent Mars Opportunity rover. Opportunity is located far away from Curiosity and has been quiet since June when a global dust storm struck the planet.
Mars is heading into a particularly, which could last for several months. The rovers will welcome a new NASA mission in late November when the to study the planet's interior and listen for "Marsquakes."