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So what's Curiosity been up to lately? Plenty (pictures)

Check out the latest images beamed back from the Red Planet as the rover gets ready to set out on its Martian journey.

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Charles Cooper
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Since its arrival on Mars a month ago, the Curiosity rover has driven 357 feet from its landing site. NASA engineers have been putting the craft through a series of checkout tests in advance of a longer planned journey.

Meanwhile, the rover has sent back a series of extraordinary pictures of the area. This image of the camera on the rover's arm was taken by the left eye of the Mast Camera.

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Tracks photographed during the rover's first checkouts on Mars.
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The rover was lowered to Mars by a sky crane which later fell to the surface. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of the resulting collision.
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NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sent back images of Curiosity's first drives on Mars.
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A view of the parachute and back shell that helped deliver NASA's Curiosity rover to Mars. The darker section of the image was caused by the dust accompanying the landing.
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Map points out the route followed by the rover to date.
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A 3-D view from the rover's landing site. You can make out rover's eventual target: Mount Sharp between the rover on the right, and its shadow on the left.
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The rover is heading toward a region where orbital photographs indicate the presence of three different rock types. This image was taken after the Curiosity drove about 70 feet on Aug. 30, 2012.
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Another image taken of the Martian landscape surrounding the rover.
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Closeup image of Martian soil clinging to the rover's rear wheels.
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Zigzag track marks leave a repeating pattern and an important reference point the rover can use to drive more precisely.
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An engineering look at the rover's robotic arm.
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The arm on NASA's Curiosity's rover in its "ready- for-action" position, as well as the position it assumes to drop off samples.

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