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[i]But this picture isn't the product of a bored (or filthy-minded) rover driver, and it wasn't beamed down recently. It's part of a [URL=http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA07342]classic nine-year-old panorama[/URL] from NASA's Spirit rover, looking back toward its landing platform. (You can actually see the platform in the [URL=http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA07342.jpg]high-resolution version[/URL] of the panorama.)
This type of rover wheel-track pattern, which could euphemistically be called "a bat and two balls," has been left on Mars many times, not only by Spirit (which gave up the ghost in 2010 or so), but also by Opportunity (which is still going strong more than nine years after landing on Mars) and Curiosity (which landed last year).
All those rovers have six wheels, three on each side, and they leave behind two parallel tracks when they're traveling in a straight line. When the rover has to make a turn, the wheels rotate in place to put the robot in the desired direction for the next leg of its trek. If the turn is significant enough, you get a nice set of circles at the end of a pair of parallel tracks.[/i]
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