NASA mission controllers late Aug. 21 will send commands for the Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” rover to perform its first short test drive the following evening.

Set to take place late Aug. 22, or around 3-4 p.m. Martian time, the rover will move its own length forward (about three meters), turn right and then move backward the same distance.

The drive is projected to take 30 min.

After the initial movement tests, controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., hope that Curiosity will start to move 10-20 meters per day, eventually building up to more than 100 meters per day.

Meanwhile, the team is assessing damage done to the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), a suite of instruments that monitors and records Martian weather. REMS features two booms for testing Martian winds; wires on the exposed circuit boards on one of the booms were damaged during landing.

However, Michael Watkins, Curiosity mission manager at JPL, says he is not worried. “The other boom is fully operational, and so now the REMS team is working pretty hard to understand how to use that remaining fully operational boom, the wind sensors on that boom, to best derive wind speed and direction for science as well as supporting the other instruments on the rover,” he said during a press conference Aug. 21.

From what NASA can tell, the wires were damaged from debris stirred up by winds during landing. But Watkins noted this theory is just one of many, and that NASA may never know the real cause of the circuit board damage.

The only foreseeable challenges Watkins noted would be identifying the direction of the wind.

Watkins added that the REMS damage will not impede the rover’s scheduled test drive.