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Motors have losses and friction, and compaction of soil by a rovers wheels are lossy as well. Driving over bumps/topography requires extra work going up that isn't recovered when going back down.

The terrain that Curiosity has traversed is varied, but is it possible to give some estimate for the incline angle that would require curiosity to use twice the electrical power to drive compared to a flat grade? I'm thinking mostly about the work required to raise it's 900 kg up against Mars' 3.72 m/s^2 gravity but maybe there are other effects as well.

related:

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  • $\begingroup$ Impossible to answer without very detailed information about what consumes the power on flat terrain. Likely the answer is "Never". Lifting the rover straight up at maximum speed is just an additional 144W. $\endgroup$ – asdfex Jul 12 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ @asdfex "some estimate" may not be so impossible to answer, let's see what information turns up! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 12 at 10:29

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