NASA's Mars Curiosity rover, which was dispatched to study whether the Red Planet could have hosted life, is to take its first test drive.
The one-ton, nuclear-powered robotic geologist landed inside a Martian crater last month.
Curiosity will drive about ten feet, turn its wheels, then drive back to its landing site, ending up at a 90-degree angle from where it touched down inside Gale Crater.
Ultimately, scientists plan to drive the six-wheeled rover to a three-mile high mound of layered rock rising from the centre of the crater's floor which is the primary target of the $2.5 billion, two-year mission.
On Monday, the rover flexed its robot arm for the first time since landing on Mars and pivoted one of its back wheels in preparation for the test drive.