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NASA’s curiosity makes first test drive on Mars

MOSCOW, Aug. 23 — NASA scientists took on Wednesday the 900-kg Mars rover for a short spin on the surface of the Red Planet.

“First drive complete! This is how I roll: forward 3 meters, 90º turn, then back,” a message on Curiosity’s official Twitter page said.

The message is accompanied by an image of the rover leaving visible treads on the rugged Martian terrain.

The size of a small car, the rover is equipped with six wheels, four of which can pivot.

The test drive is part of a series of checks on Curiosity’s performance being conducted after it landed on Mars on August 6 beginning a two-year mission to assess whether the distant planet has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

Before the Mars rover embarks on a 7-km (4.3-mile) journey to its primary target – the foot of Mount Sharp on the floor of Gale Crater – NASA scientists plan to send it out on a shorter trek to a spot about 400 meters (1,300 feet) from its landing site. (PNA/RIA Novosti)

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