Monday, August 6, 2012 10:11:20 PM
@beternal The dust would coat the rover and could affect the scientific instruments. Unfortunately there is no way to wash these things so once they get dirty they stay dirty (barring a little wind which is not powerful enough due to the low density of the atmosphere to clean effectively).
Monday, August 6, 2012 1:27:20 PM
"They wanted to disturb the surface as little as possible and not end up with the rover covered in dust which could take quite a while to settle. That's why it hovered above. It was crashed a distance away because it served no purpose anymore."
Cool, thanks for the answer... But I still don`t see why it wouldn`t have been easier to land it, disturb the ground a bit, and simply drive it to somewhere less disturbed... seems like a lot of fuss!
Monday, August 6, 2012 1:18:52 PM
@beternal: As it said on the poster, Mars atmosphere is alot thinner than earths hence there is less drag caused by parachutes so they can't slow it down enough to prevent damage to the rover on landing. The old method (used on the previous two rovers) of using large inflatable bags around it so it bounced along the ground until it stopped would not work with this one as it`s so large the force would burst the bags. Hence retro rockets.