Curiosity’s weekend “Brain transplant” proceeded perfectly and she’ll be ready to drive across the floor of Gale Crater in about a week, said the projects mission managers at a NASA news briefing on Tuesday, Aug. 14. And the team can’t wait to get Curiosity’s 6 wheels mobile on the heels of a plethora of science successes after just a week on Mars.
Over the past 4 sols, or Martian days, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) successfully uploaded the new “R10” flight software that is required to carry our science operations on the Red Planet’s surface and transform the car-sized Curiosity from a landing vehicle into a fully fledged rover.
The step by step flight software transition onto both the primary and backup computers “went off without a hitch”, said mission manager Mike Watkins of JPL at the news briefing. “We are ‘Go’ to continue our checkout activities on Sol 9 (today).”
Watkins added that the electronic checkouts of all the additional science instruments tested so far, including the APXS, DAN and Chemmin, has gone well. Actual use tests are still upcoming.
“With the new flight software, we’re now going to test the steering actuators on Sol 13, and then we are going to take it out for a test drive here probably around Sol 15,” said Watkins. “We’re going to do a short drive of a couple of meters and then maybe turn and back up.”
Curiosity’s Wheels Set to Rove Mars inside Gale Crater. This mosaic shows Curiosity wheels, nuclear power source and pointy low gain antennea (LGA) in the foreground looking to the eroded northern rim of Gale Crater in the background. The mosaic was assembled from full resolution Navcam images snapped by Curiosity on Sol 2 on Aug. 8. Image stitching and processing by Ken Kremer and Marco Di Lorenzo. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer/Marco Di Lorenzo
See our rover wheel mosaic above, backdropped by the rim of Gale Crater some 15 miles away.