Follow this link to skip to the main content National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
NASA Banner
NASA Mars Exploration Program
Mars Exploration Program
Home
PRESS RELEASE
07.23.2010
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars Curiosity Takes First Baby Steps

Mars Curiosity team members gather in the clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the rover roll for the first time.
Mars Curiosity Takes First Baby Steps
Mars Curiosity team members gather in the clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the rover roll for the first time. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Like proud parents savoring their baby’s very first steps, mission team members gathered in a gallery above a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time.

Engineers and technicians wore “bunny suits” while guiding Curiosity through its first steps, or more precisely, its first roll on the clean room floor. The rover moved forward and backward about 1 meter (3.3 feet).

Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It will carry 10 instruments that will help search an intriguing region of the Red Planet for two things:

  1. Environments where life might have existed
  2. The capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life

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

Guy Webster 818-354-6278/Courtney O'Connor 818-354-2274
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov / courtney.m.o'connor@jpl.nasa.gov

2010-246

First Test Drive For Next Mars Rover First Test Drive For Next Mars Rover
This video shows the first test drive of the next Mars Rover, Curiosity, in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on July 23, 2010. Engineers in "bunny suits" conducted the test, while proud team members watched from a viewing gallery. Deputy Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada explains the process.

Video Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

QuickTime (Captioned) 9.6 MB
QuickTime 26.6 MB
QuickTime 29.9 MB
QuickTime 230.5 MB
MPEG-4 41.9 MB
MPEG-4 42.9 MB
MPEG-4 47.8 MB

A test operator in clean-room garb holds umbilical cables for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity during the rover's first drive test, on July 23, 2010.Full Size Image
A test operator in clean-room garb holds umbilical cables for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity during the rover's first drive test, on July 23, 2010.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project will launch Curiosity in late 2011 for arrival at Mars in August 2012. The mission will study whether an intriguing area of Mars has offered environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving evidence of whether life existed there.

On Mars, of course, Curiosity will not need an umbilical cord. It will communicate by radio, and it will be powered by a radiosotope thermoelectric generator -- essentially a nuclear battery that reliably converts heat to electricity -- to be installed just before launch.

Technicians and engineers conducted the drive test in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A test operator in clean-room garb observes rolling of the wheels during the first drive test of NASA's Curiosity rover, on July 23, 2010.Full Size Image
A test operator in clean-room garb observes rolling of the wheels during the first drive test of NASA's Curiosity rover, on July 23, 2010.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project will launch Curiosity in late 2011 for arrival at Mars in August 2012. The mission will study whether an intriguing area of Mars has offered environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving evidence of whether life existed there.

Technicians and engineers conducted the drive test in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Technicians and engineers in clean-room garb monitor the first drive test of NASA's Curiosity rover, on July 23, 2010.Full Size Image
Technicians and engineers in clean-room garb monitor the first drive test of NASA's Curiosity rover, on July 23, 2010.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project will launch Curiosity in late 2011 for arrival at Mars in August 2012. The mission will study whether an intriguing area of Mars has offered environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving evidence of whether life existed there.

The team conducted the drive test in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Return to News Archive


USA.gov
PRIVACY     FAQ     SITEMAP     FEEDBACK     IMAGE POLICY