PASADENA, CA. (CNN) – The Mars rover Curiosity has completed its first test drive. It’s the first time the rover has moved from its landing site since it touched down on Mars 16 days ago. NASA scientists say the successful spin proves the rover is capable of exploring more of the Red Planet.
“Curiosity had today her first successful drive on Mars. So this… (applause)… this drive check out coupled with yesterday’s check out of the steering acuators on cell 15 means we have a fully functioning mobility system.”
Curiosity was on the roll for about four to five minutes. It went forward, turned, and reversed, ending up about 20 feet from its landing site.
NASA officials say if everything continues to go well, they’ll send Curiosity on longer journeys to explore whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting life.