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Landing ellipse

In the image below, the white circles define the landing zone (known as a landing ellipse) inside Gale Crater. The rover's navigation system will need to be able to handle the type of terrain found here:

Curiosity's landing ellipse. Image: NASA/JPL

How will we know if Curiosity has landed safely on the surface of Mars? First let's review how we are going to talk to Curiosity in order to transmit data back and fourth.

Communication

This 2 minute video covers the communication basics:

Once we land, how will Curiosity get around?

Remote navigation

60-second video of vehicle operation from millions of miles away:

Mars yard tests

Engineers test Curiosity's hill-climbing capabilities using her Earthbound twin:

Desert test drive

NASA engineers take the Curiosity test rover to California's Mojave desert to learn how to drive on Martian sand dunes.