So what's Curiosity been up to lately? Plenty (pictures)
Check out the latest images beamed back from the Red Planet as the rover gets ready to set out on its Martian journey.
|Since its arrival on Mars a month ago, the Curiosity rover has driven 357 feet from its landing site. NASA engineers have been putting the craft through a series of checkout tests in advance of a longer planned journey.|
Meanwhile, the rover has sent back a series of extraordinary pictures of the area. This image of the camera on the rover's arm was taken by the left eye of the Mast Camera.
|Tracks photographed during the rover's first checkouts on Mars.|
|The rover was lowered to Mars by a sky crane which later fell to the surface. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of the resulting collision.|
|NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sent back images of Curiosity's first drives on Mars.|
|A view of the parachute and back shell that helped deliver NASA's Curiosity rover to Mars. The darker section of the image was caused by the dust accompanying the landing.|
|Map points out the route followed by the rover to date.|
|A 3-D view from the rover's landing site. You can make out rover's eventual target: Mount Sharp between the rover on the right, and its shadow on the left.|
|The rover is heading toward a region where orbital photographs indicate the presence of three different rock types. This image was taken after the Curiosity drove about 70 feet on Aug. 30, 2012.|
|Another image taken of the Martian landscape surrounding the rover.|
|Closeup image of Martian soil clinging to the rover's rear wheels.|
|Zigzag track marks leave a repeating pattern and an important reference point the rover can use to drive more precisely.|
|An engineering look at the rover's robotic arm.|
|The arm on NASA's Curiosity's rover in its "ready- for-action" position, as well as the position it assumes to drop off samples.|