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Mars Curiosity Rover To Touch First Martian Rock [9-12-13]

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PostSubject: Mars Curiosity Rover To Touch First Martian Rock [9-12-13] Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:24 pm

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Curiosity team has almost finished robotic arm tests in preparation for the rover to touch and examine its first Martian rock.

Tests with the 7-foot (2.1-meter) arm have allowed the mission team to gain confidence in the arm's precise maneuvering in Martian temperature and gravity conditions. During these activities, Curiosity has remained at a site it reached by its most recent drive on Sept. 5. The team will resume driving the rover this week and use its cameras to seek the first rock to touch with instruments on the arm.

"We're about to drive some more and try to find the right rock to begin doing contact science with the arm," said Jennifer Trosper, Curiosity mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Two science instruments -- a camera called Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) that can take close-up, color images and a tool called Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) that determines the elemental composition of a target rock -- have passed preparatory tests at the rover's current location. The instruments are mounted on a turret at the end of the arm and can be placed in contact with target rocks.


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Mars Curiosity Rover To Touch First Martian Rock [9-12-13]

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