Curiosity spins its wheels!

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 21 2012 2:48 PM

Curiosity spins its wheels!

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:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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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



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