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Curiosity's wheel tracks on Mars  (Source: zeitnews.org)
Curiosity is making its way toward Glenelg, a 1,300 foot drive from Curiosity's landing site

NASA rover Curiosity passed a series of testing since landing on the Red Planet, and has finally left its landing site to explore its Martian surroundings.

Curiosity made two simple maneuvers recently to test its driving capabilities. After successful completion, Curiosity was sent on its way to its first official destination on Mars for exploration. It traveled 52 feet, which marked its longest drive from its landing site (Bradbury Landing) yet.

Curiosity is making its way toward Glenelg, a 1,300 foot drive from Curiosity's landing site. Glenelg is an ideal spot for investigation of whether Mars has the ingredients to produce life because the area has three different types of terrain in one spot.

It'll take Curiosity a few weeks to get to Glenelg because it's making a few stops along the way. It will test its various instruments, such as its robotic arm, during these stops to make sure everything is in working order.

Once reaching Glenelg, Curiosity will spend a longer amount of time there for exploration.

"This drive really begins our journey toward the first major driving destination, Glenelg, and it's nice to see some Martian soil on our wheels," said Arthur Amador, mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The drive went beautifully, just as our rover planners designed it."

Curiosity, a $2.5 billion project, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26, 2011 and landed on Mars August 6, 2012 at 1:32 a.m. It was a tricky landing procedure, but it was a success and Curiosity's testing has also turned out well so far. In fact, the rover recently zapped its first rock on Mars using its laser.

Source: MSNBC



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By WinstonSmith on 9/3/2012 1:04:24 PM , Rating: 3
Unlike the Mars Exploration Rovers, the MSL compares its wheel rotations with what it's seeing in its hazcams. If the wheels are spinning but the scenery isn't changing, it stops. That way, it won't stupidly dig itself in like the MERs did.


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