NASA uses Mars Test Rover in the Mojave Desert

credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(Best Syndication News) - NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory team members were out at Dumont Dunes in the Mojave Desert last week to practice using a test rover. The real rover is scheduled to land on Mars on August 5, 2012. This test run in California gave mission members a chance to improve their skills when the real one is deployed on Mars.

The real version of the rover on route to Mars is called Curiosity. The test rover was full-sized but stripped down so it would have similar weight compared to Mars lighter gravity. The mission members wanted to collect information on windward and downwind aspects of the dunes in the Mojave because on Mars there are dunes near a mountain located in the center of Gale Crater.

Curiosity was launched on November 26, 2011 and is on schedule for landing in the evening on August 5, 2012 PDT. Curiosity will be used to study the layers in Gale Crater’s central mound called Mount Sharp. The scientists want to determine if there ever was an environment that could have supported microbial life.

By: Julie Marcus
Science and Technology Writer

ref: NASA



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