Getting rovers to Mars is one thing, getting scientists to monitor how those rovers perform is another thing. That's why the hot, barren-looking dunescapes of Death Valley National Park in Nevada and California are attractive to scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The following video is not brand new, having been released two years ago, but it nevertheless is interesting if you're curious about Mars exploration. As the researchers discovered at Death Valley, "High-precision slip tests in hot, dry sands show that the Mars Science Lab "Curiosity" may be more sure-footed than its predecessors Spirit or Opportunity. JPL engineers trek accurate rover surrogates across the dusty desert to measure performance."