Mars rover Curiosity aces first test drive

By REUTERS
August 23, 2012 01:18

 
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CAPE CANAVERAL - NASA's Mars rover Curiosity took a 16-minute drive on Wednesday, its first since reaching the Red Planet to search for habitats that could have supported microbial life.

The $2.5-billion, two-year mission, NASA's first astrobiology initiative since the 1970s-era Viking probes, kicked off on Aug. 6, with a risky, but successful landing on at a site NASA has named "Bradbury Landing," a nod to the late science fiction author and space aficionado Ray Bradbury.

Aside from a quick steering test earlier in the week, the one-ton rover had stood firmly on its six wheels since touching down inside an ancient impact basin called Gale Crater, located in the planet's southern hemisphere near the equator.

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