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Mars Rover Drives on Red Planet

  • VOA News

This NASA image shows the Curiosity rover's wheel tracks on the surface of Mars, from an image sent from one of the rover's cameras, August 22, 2012.
The U.S. Mars rover Curiosity has successfully completed its first drive on the Red Planet.

NASA engineer Matt Heverly said the rover drove 4.5 meters Wednesday, rotated and backed up 2.5 meters. He said the drive confirmed that the soil on the planet is firm.

Pictures from the Mars rover showed tire tracks made during the drive. NASA says the rover has completed taking several soil samples from the planet's surface, with everything "going extremely well."

Curiosity is loaded with instruments to investigate the Martian geology, weather and radiation levels. It is on a two-year, $2.5-billion mission to help investigate whether life ever existed on Mars or could do so in the future.

Photo Gallery of Mars Rover Curiosity