NASA's Curiosity rover that landed yesterday looks to be doing just fine right now, and is gearing up for its two year mission on the Red Planet's surface. The rover will look for signs that the planet was once inhabited by life.
The rover seems to be in good health after being lowered to the red dirt by a rocket-powered sky crane. Curiosity has made the mental switch from entry, descent and landing mode to surface mode seamlessly, team members announced today.
“She is in surface nominal mode,” Curiosity mission manager Mike Watkins, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told reporters here at JPL today. “The surface mission of Curiosity has now begun.”
Initial checks of the rover looks good for now. The first matter of business for the rover, is deploying Curiosity's high gain antenna. This operation should begin at around 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT; 0100 GMT Tuesday), officials said.
“This allows us to talk directly to the Earth with enough gain that it can actually send data to us, and be more easily talked to by us,” Watkins said.