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Curiosity rover starts light robotic arm workout in preparation for scientific main event

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As NASA promised, Curiosity has stopped at the quarter pole toward its first scientific destination to test its robotic arm and attached scientific instruments. After 100 yards of driving, the rover extended its 7-foot limb, and will now spend six to ten days checking its predetermined positions and range of motion. That will ensure the appendage is ready after surviving the chilly vaccuum of space and subsequent setdown, and will let its minders see how it functions in the unfamiliar Martian gravity and temperatures. The JPL scientists in charge of the six-wheeler will also peep the Mars Hand Lens Imager and made-in-Canada Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer to warrant that they're up for all the geology to come. If all goes well, the rover will start scooping, drilling and analyzing in earnest when it hits Glenelg, then Mount Sharp -- so, we'd limber up first before tackling all that, too.

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