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07.23.2010

Curiosity Rover Grows by Leaps and Bounds

Attaching Curiosity's Mast
Attaching Curiosity's Mast
In the clean room at JPL, engineers gather around the base of Curiosity's "neck" (the Mast) as they slowly lower it into place for attachment to the rover's "body" (the Wet Electronics Box, or "WEB").

Talk about a growth-spurt. In one week, Curiosity grew by approximately 1 meter (3.5 feet) when spacecraft technicians and engineers attached the rover’s neck and head (called the Remote Sensing Mast) to its body. At around 2 meters (about 7 feet) tall, the next rover to Mars now stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Mounted on Curiosity’s mast are two navigation cameras (Navcams), two mast cameras (Mastcam), and the laser-carrying chemistry camera (ChemCam).

While it now has a good head on its shoulders, Curiosity’s “eyes” (the Mastcam), have been blindfolded in a protective silvery material. The Mastcam, containing two digital cameras, will soon be unveiled, so engineers can test its picture-taking abilities.

Up next today (July 23), the towering rover will take its first baby steps: a slow roll on the floor of the clean room where it’s being built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Watch Curiosity’s progress live from the clean room on Ustream until 3:30 p.m. PDT today: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl .

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

This image shows a close-up of the rover's 'head.' At the top is a white box structure with a large red circle (the rover's laser called ChemCam) to the right. Beneath the box are two cameras, which will provide views of the Martian surface. They are covered with protective silvery material.Close-Up View of Curiosity's "Head"
Full Size Image
Curiosity's "eyes" (the Mastcam) are shrouded in a silvery material, awaiting their first look around the clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where the rover is being built.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
In this image, engineers are dressed head to toe in Attaching Curiosity's Mast
Full Size Image
In the clean room at JPL, engineers gather around the base of Curiosity's "neck" (the Mast) as they slowly lower it into place for attachment to the rover's "body" (the Wet Electronics Box, or "WEB").

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
This video clip shows engineers in the JPL cleanroom where the rover is being assembled as they put all six wheels into motion for the first time.Video Options
This video clip shows engineers in the JPL clean room where the rover is getting it's "head."

Video Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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