Mars Rover Curiosity Drives for First Time

15-foot test trip was a success
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2012 3:57 PM CDT
An image snapped by Curiosity.   (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – The Mars rover Curiosity is officially cruising. NASA completed its first test drive of the space vehicle today. The rover traveled 15 feet, turned right, and then reversed a short distance, reports AP. "We're very excited to have this kind of milestone behind us," says one NASA scientist. "We see that the system is performing very well and we're in a great place to do some science."

The rover arrived on the red planet on August 5, and since then, it's been undergoing a health checkup, including the laser-blasting of a rock as well as today's test drive. Ultimately, the rover will be able to trek for hundreds of feet a day. One slight glitch: Researchers say one of the rover's wind sensors was damaged, but a second one is working fine and should be able to handle the entire workload. (Read more Mars stories.)

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