Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Curiosity Spins Its Wheels

Engineers just installed six new wheels on the Curiosity rover, and rotated all six wheels at once on July 9, 2010. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech - Full image and caption

The wheels that will touch down on Mars in 2012 are numerous rotations closer to spinning on the rocky trails of Mars.

This video clip shows engineers in the JPL clean room where the rover is being assembled as they put all six wheels into action for the first time.

Engineers raised the rover just as a car mechanic would hoist a car to check the wheels, and started the "engine" to get the wheels rotating. The wheel mobility system has 10 motors in all-four for routing the rover and six for driving. During this test, all 10 motors ran in every direction. Each wheel spun forward and backwards.

Next up for Curiosity is a sequence of "tune-ups" to prep the rover for driving.

For more information visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-233
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