As a prelude to actually hitting the road, engineers at JPL commanded the Mars Curiosity rover to move its wheels, testing to make sure everything worked.
Everything worked! Here's a fun little animated GIF showing the rear right wheel wiggling:
Sweeeeet. Countdown to someone adding a dubstep audio track in 3… 2… 1…
Note the sundial at the top right; you can see the shadow of the rover moving as time elapses. If you watch the ground you can see the perspective of the camera changing a bit as the rover rocks, too; the wheel movement is causing the rover to move slightly with each frame of the sequence.
In more good news, yesterday the engineers extended the 2-meter long boom arm. The arm has a set of tools at the end, including a camera, a scoop, a drill, a sifter, and a spectrometer (to determine the composition of samples). So it looks like Curiosity is about ready to start poking around Mars!
Bon voyage, you laser-eyed nuclear-powered extraterrestrial explorer. Go do science!
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
- Now you will feel the firepower of a fully armed and operational Mars rover
- Watch as Curiosity touches down gently *and* its heat shield slams into Mars
- Gallery – Curiosity’s triumphant first week on Mars
- Video of Curiosity saying bye bye to its heat shield