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Curiosity Is Approaching Mars' Very Own "Bermuda Triangle"

Will the Mars rover finally make it to this elusive region of the Red Planet?


Maddy Chapman


Maddy Chapman

Copy Editor and Staff Writer

Maddy is a Copy Editor and Staff Writer at IFLScience, with a degree in biochemistry from the University of York.

Copy Editor and Staff Writer

Mars image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3921

Photo of the Red Planet taken by the Left Navigation Camera onboard Curiosity on Sol 3921.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Some Mars rovers have friends, while others have foes, and unfortunately for NASA’s Curiosity, it falls into this latter bracket. The rover’s nemesis comes in the form of Gediz Vallis Ridge, which has been dubbed Mars’ “Bermuda Triangle” due to several thwarted efforts to reach it. Now, Curiosity is set to make another, hopefully less futile, attempt to best its rocky rival.

Gediz Vallis is a part of Mars’ Mount Sharp where water once flowed. It therefore includes boulders from much higher up the mountain, which the rover would otherwise be unable to reach. Curiosity has attempted, and failed, to reach it thrice now: first back in 2020, during its first difficult climb onto the Greenheugh Pediment; then again last year, in an attempt that was blocked by the treacherous “gator-back” ridges; and most recently on its climb out of the Marker Band Valley.


Will this next effort be fourth time lucky?

“The Gediz Vallis Ridge has been a long-term, and, at times, seemingly impossible goal of the Curiosity Rover mission,” reads the rover’s latest mission update.

As a result, the elusive region of the Red Planet has been nicknamed the “Bermuda Triangle” of Mount Sharp by the team, after the section of the North Atlantic Ocean in which ships, planes, and people are alleged to have mysteriously vanished. 

According to the update, Curiosity is closing in on the ridge, and is just meters away from being able to reach its arm out and make contact with the ridge material.

As you might expect when faced with such a tough adversary, it’s been no easy journey to this point, with the rocky terrain making for uncertain footing for Curiosity’s wheels. But, with any luck, the rover will soon reach its destination, where it will perform imaging to document the geology of the location, followed by atmospheric observations, including a dust measurement and sky survey.

“With [this] plan, Curiosity will hopefully be able to finally perform contact science on a diverse cluster of [Gediz Vallis] Ridge boulders, presuming that our drive is successful and doesn’t leave our wheels perched on any of the abundant rocks on this steep slope,” the mission update continues.

Go well, Curiosity! Here’s hoping the Martian “Bermuda Triangle” won’t claim another victory.


spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy
  • tag
  • Mars,

  • Curiosity,

  • bermuda triangle,

  • Astronomy,

  • Red Planet,

  • Mars rover