Curiosity Rover has big plans for today

Curiosity has officially begun its second full day on the surface of Mars. The massive $2.5 billion rover touched down on the surface of Mars on August 5. So far, curiosity has sent back images during its descent to the surface of Mars and of its new home base inside Gale Crater. Today Curiosity has a busy day filled with getting ready to start roving around on the surface of Mars in the coming weeks.

So far, Curiosity has fired up its Radiation Assessment Detector used to measure ambient radiation on Mars and conducted the first sensor calibration for its Rover Environmental Monitoring Station. That last tool is designed to monitor wind speeds on the surface of Mars along with air temperature and wind direction. The calibration of that Rover Environmental Monitoring Station didn't go as planned, but a team of scientists is working on a fix and hope correct the problem soon.

On the second day residing on the red planet, Curiosity plans to use its motors and actuators to deploy the rover's remote-sensing mast that houses one of the more important tools Curiosity brings to Mars. The mast is where the laser designed for rock sampling and measuring chemical composition resides. The mast also has Curiosity's highest-quality cameras.

Once that mast is raised, the first thing the high-quality cameras will do is snap a photograph of a calibration target mounted on the rover. The team of scientists managing Curiosity will also establish direct communications with the rover today. So far, all communications between Curiosity and Earth have been conducted by routing messages through one of the dual probes orbiting Mars.