By Kalwinder Kaur
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has started moving on the Martian surface from its landing ground, with its drive combined forward, reverse and turn segments.
The rover has now moved 6 m from its landing site, which has been named as ‘Bradbury Landing’ by the Curiosity science team for the late author Ray Bradbury. Curiosity's drive verified the health of its mobility system and imprinted its first wheel tracks on the Martian surface. NASA scientists documented this drive in pictures.
Matt Heverly, the mission's lead rover driver, demonstrated an animation created using visualization software employed for planning the first drive in a news conference held at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Pasadena, California. Curiosity will perform instrument checks and analyze the surroundings beside Bradbury Landing prior to moving towards its first driving destination roughly 400 m to the east-southeast.
The science team has mentioned about the rover's onboard instruments for performing analyses of specific targets. This week, the Chemistry and Camera instrument utilized a laser and spectrometers to study the composition of exposed rocks following the scattering of overlying material by the landing engines of the spacecraft.
The instrument's principal investigator, Roger Weins from Los Alamos National Laboratory, informed that these may be basalt pieces inside a sedimentary deposit. The two-year prime mission of Curiosity with 10 science instruments onboard will evaluate the possibility of favorable environmental conditions for microbial life in Mars.
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity is controlled by Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the agency’s cience Mission Directorate situated in Washington. Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed, developed and assembled the rover.