Curiosity took its first test drive around the gravel-strewn Martian terrain Wednesday, preparation for the ultimate road trip to find out if the red planet’s environment could have supported life.
The six-wheel NASA rover did not stray far from the spot where it landed more than two weeks ago. It rolled forward about 15 feet, rotated to a right angle and reversed a short distance, leaving track marks on the ancient soil.
Mission managers were ecstatic that the maiden voyage of the $2.5 billion mission was glitch-free.
“It couldn’t be more important,” said project manager Peter Theisinger at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We built a rover. So unless the rover roves, we really haven’t accomplished anything ... It’s a big moment.
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