Spotlight | March 7, 2008

Big Wheels Cross The Finish Line...for Now!

This animated GIF is a combination of two images. The first image shows engineer Sean Haggert. Wearing a white lab coat, gloves, face mask, and hair covering to protect spacecraft parts from contamination, engineer Sean Haggert places his hands on either edge of one of the black, cleated wheels of the Mars Science Laboratory rover. The second image shows a gloved hand holding a titanium spoke fits easily inside the cavernous interior of one of the large, wide wheels of the Mars Science Laboratory rover.

NASA's next mission to Mars gets rolling, as engineers on the mobility team cross a finish line of their own. Just complete is fabrication of the wheels for the Mars Science Laboratory rover. In 2010, the SUV-sized rover will land on Mars, touching down on all six of its truck-sized wheels, ready to drive. This dust-busting wheel will soon join with its shock-absorbing, titanium spokes and the perfectly balanced springs that will snap them into place. With only 18 months to get the rover ready, the mission team will be driving hard to build their rover, test it, and send it on its way!

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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