The six-wheel rover has been parked for more than a week at a sand dune where it has been busy scooping up soil, putting it in a bucket with one of its mechanical spades, then overturning the bucket onto the martian surface and sprinkling a little water over the sand to keep the sand castle turrets together.
Mission scientist Joel Salmons expected Curiosity to build the “biggest frickin’ sand castle Mars has ever seen.”
“We’ve got turrets, a moat and we’re even going to put an American flag on the top,” said Salmons of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the $2.5 billion mission.
“The martian soil is very fine but when we get Curiosity to sprinkle water over it, the sand castle turrets stay in place.”
The car-size rover will leave a sand castle legacy from earth on the Mars surface that some say may last thousands of years.
“We just hope there is no gust of wind or anything. I don’t even know if Mars has wind, jeez beats the heck out of me. I’m a scientist and I don’t know that,” one of the Mars rover operators revealed.