<p><strong><a href="http://www.nasa.gov/">NASA</a>'s <a href="http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/">Curiosity rover</a> snapped this closeup view of its tool turret flexing its seven-foot-long (two-meter-long) robot arm on August 20—the first time since landing on the red planet about two weeks ago.</strong></p><p>The car-size robotic geochemist conducted a series of health checks on itself, including unfolding its arm and making sure all five of its joints are in working order.</p><p>Like a hand, at the tip of its appendage is a 2-foot-wide (0.6-meter-wide), 70-pound (32-kilogram) turret of five tools that will be used to collect and analyze rock and soil samples on <a href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/mars-article/">Mars</a>.</p><p>(<a href="https://www.facebook.com/NatGeoBooks/app_410891638952880">Get the full story of Curiosity's mission in the National Geographic e-book <em>Mars Landing 2012</em></a>.)</p><p><em>—Andrew Fazekas</em></p>

System Check

NASA's Curiosity rover snapped this closeup view of its tool turret flexing its seven-foot-long (two-meter-long) robot arm on August 20—the first time since landing on the red planet about two weeks ago.

The car-size robotic geochemist conducted a series of health checks on itself, including unfolding its arm and making sure all five of its joints are in working order.

Like a hand, at the tip of its appendage is a 2-foot-wide (0.6-meter-wide), 70-pound (32-kilogram) turret of five tools that will be used to collect and analyze rock and soil samples on Mars.

(Get the full story of Curiosity's mission in the National Geographic e-book Mars Landing 2012.)

—Andrew Fazekas

Image courtesy Caltech/NASA

Space Pictures This Week: "Blast" Crater, Mars Rover, More

A "stunning sky show," debris from an undersea volcano, and a Mars "blast zone" feature among the week's best space pictures.

Read This Next

The most ancient galaxies in the universe are coming into view
‘Microclots’ could help solve the long COVID puzzle
How Spain’s lust for gold doomed the Inca Empire

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet