Nasa's Mars rover flexes its robotic arm


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The Independent Online

Nasa's Mars rover has taken another small step for robot-kind.

Engineers at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California say the rover Curiosity flexed its robotic arm for the first time since before its November launch.

They say they will now spend weeks testing and calibrating the seven-foot-long arm and its extensive tool kit - which includes a drill, a scoop, a spectrometer and a camera, in preparation for collecting its first soil samples and attempting to learn whether the Martian environment was favourable for microbial life

Yesterday engineers unfurled the arm, extended it forward using all five of its joints, then stowed it again.

The test is part of a full health check-up Curiosity has been undergoing since landing in an ancient crater on the red planet on August 5.