(Reuters) - The Mars rover Curiosity was due to wrap up an exhaustive, weeks-long instrument check on Thursday, clearing the way for its first lengthy drive to determine whether the Red Planet has ever been hospitable to life, NASA officials said.
The six-wheeled, nuclear-powered rover landed five weeks ago inside a giant impact basin called Gale Crater, near the Martian equator, to conduct NASA's first astrobiology mission since the 1970s-era Viking probes.
For its final equipment check, Curiosity will maneuver its robot arm so its close-up camera touches the tray where processed rock and soil samples will be analyzed.
The rover, equipped with an array of the most elaborate laboratory instruments ever sent to a distant world, also has a bit of sightseeing on its agenda. ... Source/Origin >> Read More