NASA's Mars rover Curiosity flexed its long robotic arm for the first time on the Red Planet Monday (Aug. 20), passing a critical health check with flying colors, mission managers say.
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity extended its robotic arm on Aug. 20, 2012, for the first time on
Mars and used its Navigation Camera (Navcam) to capture this view of the extended arm.
CREDIT: NASA JP
The rover unfolded the robotic arm and performed an intricate series of test maneuvers to make sure the 7-foot-long (2.1-meter) appendage is in good working order. Curiosity's robotic arm has five joints and is tipped with sophisticated instruments to get up close and personal with Mars.
Monday's Martian workout flexed all five joints on the robotic arm to extend it out in front of Curiosity, and then fold it back into its travel position ahead of the rover's first drive, which is also expected to occur in the next few days.