This color panorama shows a 360-degree view of the landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover, including the highest part of Mount Sharp visible to the rover. That part of Mount Sharp is approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) away from the rover.
"NASA's Mars Curiosity rover team member Jessica Samuels updates you on developments and status of the mission now that it's preparing to explore Gale Crater. Curiosity carries 10 science instruments with a total mass 15 times as large as the science payloads on NASA's Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Some of the tools, such as a laser-firing instrument for checking rocks' elemental composition from a distance, are the first of their kind on Mars. Curiosity will use a drill and scoop, which are located at the end of its robotic arm, to gather soil and powdered samples of rock interiors, then sieve and parcel out these samples into the rover's analytical laboratory instruments."
"Flex, Zap, Roll: NASA's Curiosity Mars rover performs a series of firsts this week -- flexing its arm, laser-zapping a rock and rolling on its wheels. See the rover's landing site, named for author Ray Bradbury on the day that would have been his 92nd birthday."
"This simulation shows the first test drive of NASA's Curiosity rover. This tool, called the Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) helps engineers plan the rover's drives, modeling pebbles and bumps in the terrain. The visualization component of the RSVP tool is called Hyperdrive.
The tool shows the sped-up plan for the drive; the actual drive took place at 7:17 a.m. PDT (10:17 a.m. EDT) on Aug. 22, 2012, and lasted about 16 minutes. The drive demonstrated that the wheel actuators, or motors, are working.
To start its forward drive, Curiosity's drove about 3 feet (90 centimeters), rotating its wheels 180 degrees, before stopping to take pictures of the wheels. It then continued forward another 12 feet (3.6 meters), totaling 15 feet (4.5 meters) of forward motion. The rover then rotated 120 degrees, stopping again during the turn to take more pictures. Finally, Curiosity rolled backward 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) and snapped more pictures from its final location. The total drive distance was nearly 23 feet (7 meters)."
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