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How to drive a robot on Mars

CALIFORNIA: Some 78 million miles (126 million kilometers) from Earth, alone on the immense and frigid Red Planet, a robot the size of a small 4x4 wakes up just after sunrise. And just as it has every day for the past six years, it awaits its instructions. Around 9:30 Mars time, a message arrives from California, where it was sent 15 minutes earlier. "Drive forward 10 meters, turn to an azimuth of 45 degrees, now turn on your autonomous capabilities and drive." The Curiosity rover executes the commands, moving slowly to…

NASA troubleshooting problem with Mars rover drill

SAN FRANCISCO: NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has halted its trek up a mountain filled with potentially habitable niches for life while engineers troubleshoot a problem with one of its key instruments, scientists said on Tuesday. Curiosity landed on Mars four years ago to determine if the planet most like Earth in the solar system ever had the ingredients for life. To answer the question, Curiosity has been drilling into rocks and chemically analyzing the samples. Drilling operations have been suspended however due to a…