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NASA to attempt risky maneuver on Mars

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Thursday, February 6, 2014, 4:09 PM -

The Curiosity Rover has been actively exploring Mars since it landed there on August 6th, 2012, and soon, engineers at NASA will try a risky maneuver.

A sand dune about one metre high is blocking the vehicle's path.

Once over the dune, the rover will explore a small valley with fewer of the sharp rocks that have been making big dents in the vehicle's aluminum wheels.

NASA isn't taking the situation lightly -- they don't want Curiosity to get stuck in the dune.

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In 2009, a similar mission ended abruptly when the Spirit rover was lost in a sand trap.

Opportunity nearly suffered a similar fate in 2005, when it was trapped in a deep pile of dirt for several weeks.

NASA plans to initially take Curiosity over the dune part way as a method of testing the sand's behaviour.

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