2012-08-23 12:02:05

NASA: Mars rover Curiosity ready to explore

(Vatican Radio) NASA is confirming that the Curiosity rover on Mars can roll out and explore the planet. The rover did a short test drive Wednesday, confirming to researchers that the drive system is working. NASA's Matt Heverly is the engineer who drives Curiosity. “We have a fully functioning mobility system with lots of amazing exploration ahead,” he said in a statement.

Curiosity's forward, reverse and turning movements all work, NASA said, adding that the test journey was around six meters long. It was a welcome bit of good news for the team, which had its first – and thankfully, apparently minor – setback earlier in the week, when it became apparent that one of Curiosity's two wind sensors had been damaged during its landing earlier this month. NASA also decided on a name for the site where Curiosity touched down: Bradbury Landing, after the science fiction author Ray Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicles, who passed away in June of this year. Listen: RealAudioMP3

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