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Curiosity stretches robotic arm for first time since on Mars

(Xinhua)

15:27, August 21, 2012

NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, stretches its robotic arm upward during Sept. 3, 2010, tests on a tilt table in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Labotatory, Pasadena, Calif.(Photo/NASA)

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Curiosity stretched its robotic arm Monday for the first time since landing on Mars as the rover prepared to gather samples from the planet's surface.

The 2.1-meter-long arm would maneuver a turret of tools, including a camera, a drill, a spectrometer, a scoop and mechanisms for sieving and portioning samples of powdered rock and soil, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California announced.

"We have had to sit tight for the first two weeks since landing, while other parts of the rover were checked out, so to see the arm extended in these images is a huge moment for us," said Matt Robinson, lead engineer for Curiosity's robotic arm testing and operations at the JPL.

According to Robinson, it will need weeks of testing and calibrating arm movements before the arm delivers the first sample of Martian soil to instruments inside the rover.

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