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Mars Rover Prepares For Test Drive

Scientists are preparing to send the NASA rover Curiosity on its first test drive on Mars and they say a broken wind sensor won’t jeopardize its mission.

360-degree image from Mars rover (NASA)

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California turned four of the rover’s six wheels this week to test the steering. Project manager Mike Watkins says that on Wednesday the rover will roll about 10 feet, turn right and then back up into a new parking place. It’s part of a health checkup for the rover, which eventually could roam hundreds of feet a day over the ancient crater where it landed on Aug. 5.

Engineers also continue to check its instruments. NASA says a wind sensor was damaged on or after landing but a second is working perfectly.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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