NASA’s Mars Rover takes its first drive
Washington:NASA’s Mars rover ‘Curiosity’ has made its first successful movement on the Martian surface as it began driving from its landing site in forward, reverse and return segments.
The rover’s landing site has now been named Bradbury landing after late author Ray Bradbury, NASA said.”We have a fully functioning mobility system with lots ofamazing exploration ahead,” the mission’s lead rover driver Matt Heverly said.
On naming the site after Ray Bradbury, who was born in1920 today and died this year, NASA programme scientist for Curiosity Michael Meyer said that it had not been a difficult choice for the science team.
“Many of us and millions of other readers were inspired in our lives by stories Ray Bradbury wrote to dream of the possibility of life on Mars,” Meyer said.Some of Bradbury’s works include ‘Fahrenheit 451′, ‘The Martian Chronicles’, ‘The Illustrated Man’, ‘Dandelion Wine’, and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’.
‘Curiosity’ will spend several more days of working beside Bradbury Landing, performing instrument checks and studying
the surroundings, before embarking toward its first driving destination approximately 400 metres to the east-southeast.
“Curiosity is a much more complex vehicle than earlier Mars rovers. The testing and characterisation activities during the initial weeks of the mission lay important groundwork for operating our precious national resource with appropriate care,” Curiosity Project Manager Pete Theisinger of JPL said.
On its way to the intersection, the mobile science laboratory will likely scoop a soil sample to examine in its onboard laboratories.
‘Curiosity’ began a two-year prime mission on Mars when the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft delivered the car-size rover to its landing target inside Gale Crater on August 6.