Wheels Spinning
Engineers just installed six new wheels on the Curiosity rover, and rotated all six wheels at once on July 9, 2010.

The wheels that will touch down on Mars in 2012 are several 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 motion 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 steering 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 series of “tune-ups” to prep the rover for driving.

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    Decades of work preparing a miniaturized laboratory for identifying minerals on Mars have also yielded spinoff versions with diverse applications on Earth and, possibly, the moon.


    This image shows one of the spinoffs, in the orange case, in use during a November 2008 expedition to the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii.

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  • Members of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory team carefully steer the hoisted Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument during its installation into the Mars rover, Curiosity.

    Members of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory team carefully steer the hoisted Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument during its June 15, 2010, installation into the mission's Mars rover, Curiosity. The main body of the rover, upside down, is in the left half of the image, behind the installers.


    CheMin, provided by the NA... more

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This image was taken in the clean room where the Curiosity rover is being assembled.  It shows the rover, which is about the size of an SUV, hoisted on a white lift, with its black wheels suspended in the air.   One engineer is on top of the hoist and is leaning over the rover body, while another is looking up on the ground floor to the right of the rover.  Both engineers are wearing white Full Size Image
Engineers just installed six new wheels on the Curiosity rover, and rotated all six wheels at once on July 9, 2010. This milestone marked the first in a series of “tune-ups” to get the rover ready for a drive in the clean room where it is being assembled at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Curiosity is the centerpiece of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is expected to launch in late 2011, and touch down wheels-first in summer 2012.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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

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

Video Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

QuickTime 43.6 MB

QuickTime 115 MB

QuickTime 315 MB

MPEG-4 56.9 MB

View video of building the Curiosity rover.

Building Curiosity: Hot New Rover Wheels! NASA's next rover to Mars, under construction at JPL, turns its new set of wheels.

Video Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=911

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