LOS ANGELES – The Mars rover Curiosity is hitting the road.
It headed east Tuesday, driving 52 feet toward a spot where it will use its robotic arm for the first time to drill into bedrock. It’ll take weeks for the six-wheel NASA rover to reach the site about a quarter mile away.
The drive was the third and longest one yet since the car-size rover touched down in an ancient crater Aug. 5 to study whether the Martian environment could have been favorable for life.
The early drives have been deliberately short, allowing Curiosity to identify any hazards on the road and so that engineers can gain practice driving on the Martian terrain.