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New Mars Rover Makes the First Move

The successor to the long-lasting Mars Explorer Rover Twins has taken its first trip in the safe confines of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Curiosity, the automated explorer slated to continue the mission started by the Spirit and Opportunity, rolled one meter forward and back. Engineers looked in from the gallery like proud parents, while people online also witnessed the moment via live-streaming video.

Aimed for a fall 2011 launch, the new rover is expected to land on the Red Planet by August 2012. Armed with ten different instruments, Curiosity is the largest Mars Rover to date. NASA plans to have it explore various Martian environments, primarily to locate any signs of past life.

You can follow Curiosity's progress on Twitter (Image by NASA)