@KB3001 and @George: Thanks! Sounds reasonable...I was just imagining that for the JPL engineers, it might be like watching a movie in slow-motion the entire day...takes a lots of patience...isn't it? :)
But in reality they might be very busy in gathering & analyzing data? Any interesting findings so far?
There's no joystick to drive the rover. JPL has 16 engineers "driving" the rover. Their work consists of sending computer commands to the rover, which take most of a day to be executed. JPL is in no hurry to get where it's going, and they want to see what's around while they are driving on the surface of Mars.
I guess it's because of the time it takes for signals to reach Mars from Earth (and vice versa). To be able to control Curiosity in case of emergencies, its speed needs to be slow, I guess. That's the American way, do things in small steps first to make sure they work. We Europeans jump into the ideal scenario, which means we often get things wrong...