Curiosity Mars Rover Spins Its Wheels (w/ Video)

Jul 13, 2010
Engineers just installed six new wheels on the Curiosity rover, and rotated all six wheels at once on July 9, 2010. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- The wheels that will touch down on Mars in 2012 are several rotations closer to spinning on the rocky trails of Mars.

This video clip shows engineers in the JPL clean room where the rover is being assembled as they put all six wheels into motion for the first time.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Curiosity spinning its wheels

Engineers raised the rover just as a car mechanic would hoist a car to check the wheels, and started the "engine" to get the rotating. The wheel mobility system has 10 motors in all-four for steering the rover and six for driving. During this test, all 10 motors ran in every direction. Each wheel spun forward and backwards.

Next up for Curiosity is a series of "tune-ups" to prep the rover for driving.

Explore further: NASA rocket has six minutes to study solar heating

Related Stories

Spirit Rover: Right-Front Wheel Rotations

Dec 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Spirit's right-front wheel, which had stopped operating in March 2006, revolved with apparently normal motion during the first three of four driving segments on Sol 2117 (Wednesday, Dec. 16) ...

Rover Tests Evaluating Crabwalk Moves

Jul 13, 2009

On firm ground, NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers can make crablike moves by turning all four steerable wheels to the same side angle, then rotating the wheels either forward or backward.

Test Mars Rover Checks Pivoting Technique

Jul 17, 2009

The Mars rover team is using a test rover at JPL to assess various extraction techniques that might get Spirit out of the loose soil of "Troy" on Mars.

Spirit Rover: Rear Wheel Trouble Continues

Dec 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Results of diagnostic tests on Spirit's right-rear wheel on Sol 2109 (Dec. 8, 2009) continue to indicate a troubled wheel, which may leave the rover with only four operable wheels.

Spirit rover's wheels stuck in soft Martian dirt

May 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The five wheels that still rotate on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit have been slipping severely in soft soil during recent attempts to drive, sinking the wheels about halfway into the ...

Recommended for you

NASA rocket has six minutes to study solar heating

10 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —On Sept. 30, 2014, a sounding rocket will fly up into the sky – past Earth's atmosphere that obscures certain wavelengths of light from the sun—for a 15-minute journey to study what heats ...

Cassini watches mysterious feature evolve in Titan sea

15 hours ago

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the evolution of a mysterious feature in a large hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan. The feature covers an area of about 100 square miles (260 square ...

MOM eyes the limb of Mars after historic arrival

22 hours ago

India's maiden interplanetary voyager, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has transmitted a breathtaking new image eyeing the limb of Mars and its atmosphere against the blackness of space.

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PPihkala
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
It looks like the current rovers in Mars. I thought they might want to try to develop something that could better survive wheel motor malfunctioning. Maybe having four of those twin wheel bases they have at back, ie also one's for the front too. And then make the boom lockable so that inactivated wheel can be raised up from ground.
Drumsk8
1 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2010
That's really, REALLY slow no wonder they only cover small areas and get stuck!
plasticpower
5 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2010
Slow, but those wheels must operate on solar power and have sufficient torque to move that thing. It's the size of a car and the sun is quite a ways further away from Mars than it is from Earth. I bet those wheels have quite a bit of torque.
Chef
not rated yet Jul 14, 2010
It was actually larger than I thought it was going to be. Hopefully they included the ability to disengage the drive of the wheels, and allow them to roll freely, instead of dragging a stuck wheel along.
LariAnn
1 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2010
The article should have been titled, "Curiosity turns its wheels", as "spins" implies to me a much faster rotation than "turns".
trekgeek1
not rated yet Jul 14, 2010
Now that's a rover! Full size and ready to burn some Martian sand. And it's not that slow. Imagine slowly shuffling for an entire day, you'd cover more distance than you'd realize. And, this thing has to do all this in extreme weather conditions. Moving fast is easy on Earth, but it's a whole different story on Mars.