This video shows the first test drive of the next Mars Rover, Curiosity, in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on July 23, 2010. Engineers in 'bunny suits' conducted the test, while proud team members watched from a viewing gallery. Deputy Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada explains the process.


Sound: Machine noises

Ashwin Vasavada : Today is a really exciting day. It's a milestone for MSL.

In a sense, the first time we're seeing the rover drive on its own wheels,

on its own mobility system. It's gone from designs on napkins, to Powerpoint,

you know, to CAD drawings, to blueprints, and now it's a rover!

This is really one of the big milestones. You know, we've been all designing various

parts of the rover, in different places at JPL, different places around the world,

and now to see them come together and to see a rover sitting in front of us and

actually have somebody press a button and it drives, you know, this really gives us

a vision that this rover's real and it's going to be on Mars someday.

It's going to explore a big area on Mars. That's one of the reasons it's so big and

has such a great driving capability. We want to be driving around 10 or 20 miles

around the landing site on Mars and look for places that may have been habitable

early in Mars' history, places that were friendly to life.

I've seen pictures of this rover for so many years, you know, and I know it in my sleep,

but, yet, to see it, like, real life and to know that this is the actual thing that's going to

Mars and will drive around over rocks and soil and, you know, go down into craters

that's...that's kind of amazing. It sort of blows your mind to look at this thing and see

...see something that's going to be on Mars one day.

Sound: Machine noises
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