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Curiosity spins its wheels

Thu, 07/15/2010 - 6:54am
JPLnews
Engineers just installed six new wheels on the Curiosity rover, and rotated all six wheels at once on July 9, 2010. This milestone marked the first in a series of "tune ups" to get the rover ready for a drive in the clean room where it is being assembled at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Curiosity is the centerpiece of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is expected to launch in late 2011, and touch down wheels-first in summer 2012.

Engineers raised the rover just as a car mechanic would hoist a car to check the wheels, and started the "engine" to get the wheels rotating. The wheel mobility system has 10 motors in all--four for steering the rover and six for driving. During this test, all 10 motors ran in every direction. Each wheel spun forward and backwards.

Next up for Curiosity is a series of "tune-ups" to prep the rover for driving.

Learn more about Curiosity at: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ .


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