Tune in to Ustream right now to see Curiosity, the next Mars rover, on its wheels in the "High Bay" at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. [Not much action happening as I post this; there's a lunch break for the engineers until 1 or 1:30.] Word is that some time this afternoon, Curiosity will roll on six wheels for the first time ever (I've heard 2 p.m. Pacific, but it's not strictly scheduled and could happen before or after). This is a big day for any rover mission!
The mood seems to be upbeat; lots of engineers in their white "bunny suits" waving at the cameras, mugging for portraits with the rover, and even, just now, doing the robot dance on request from the Ustream chat room. Funny. Just don't trip and fall on the rover, please?
Just for fun, here's a photo of Curiosity's predecessor, the rover later to be named Spirit, at the same moment in her mission:
Some answers to frequently asked questions about the stream:
- What does the spinning flashing blue light mean? No, it's not a special sale at KMart; it means "power is on and a test is in progress."
- What's the blue paper for? It's anti-static paper.
Add questions/answers in the comments and I'll pull them in here.