NASA\'s new Mars Rover gets wheels

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NASA's new Mars Rover gets wheels

NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, is sitting pretty on a set of spiffy new wheels that would be the envy of any car show on Earth.

The wheels and a suspension system were added this week by spacecraft technicians and engineers. These new and important touches are a key step in assembling and testing the flight system in advance of a planned 2011 launch.

Curiosity, centerpiece of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, is a six-wheeler and uses a rocker-bogie suspension system like its smaller predecessors: Spirit, Opportunity and Sojourner.

Each wheel has its own drive motor, and the corner wheels also have independent steering motors. Unlike earlier Mars rovers, Curiosity will also use its mobility system as a landing gear when the mission's rocket-powered descent stage lowers the rover directly onto the Martian surface on a tether in August 2012.

Much more:

mars-rover-curiosity.jpg - 57.51kb
By netchicken: posted on 5-7-2010

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