Recently China has released images of the far side of the Moon taken by Chang'e 4 mission's rover Yutu-2. While pictures are really nice and beautiful, I have stumbled to one rover movement feature which seems interesting to me:
If you look closely, you will see that there are arc-like rover movement paths (painted in red) and also full circles (painted in green color). Now, here comes the question- Why there is such rover curved movement paths with circles instead of just straight-line segments trajectory?
I can only think of a few reasons:
- Such movement usually occurs in a vehicle when some of wheels are jammed/broken. In such case we can easily explain circles. If for example rover can only turn to one side because of defect in wheels/control system, then it needs to turn 360° around for being able to continue it's journey along planned straight path.
- Hardware/Software bug in rover apparatus.
- Deliberate movement in such way for achieving specific goals, such as getting most best panoramic pictures of a view, or for other planned reasons such as checking out the maneuverability of the rover.
I want to believe that true reason is (3), however given that lunar and cosmic missions are very complex and very prone to accidents, (1) and (2) may be also likely. Is there any more information about this?