The Curiosity rover is gearing up to take its first drive on Mars, probably at the beginning of next week, NASA scientists and engineers say.
Having survived its four-day "brain surgery" operation, the Mars Science Laboratory rover will go for a very short spin in the next few days, said mission manager Michael Watkins.
Since its dramatic touchdown on the Red Planet on Aug. 5, Curiosity has been doing an extended "stretch" of sorts -- unfolding its limbs, testing its cameras and sending reassuring notes back to Earth.
In the coming days, engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada-Flintridge are to test the rover's steering actuators. Then Curiosity is to take its first few "steps" -- driving perhaps a few feet before turning around and surveying the spot where it landed.