Tags: mars | rover | curiosity

Mars Rover Curiosity Sets Out on Slow Journey

Image: Mars Rover Curiosity Sets Out on Slow Journey (AP)

Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 11:04 AM

By Courtney Coren

The Mars rover Curiosity has been given its first major mission — to explore the Red Planet's Mount Sharp — but it will take the vehicle up to a year to even reach its base.

Curiosity traveled some 20 yards on Friday and cleared another 45 yards on Monday on its torturously slow way toward its destination, Discovery News reports.

NASA's Mars rover landed Aug. 5 and has covered 1,000 yards so far. In the last seven months, Curiosity has explored an area known as Yellowknife Bay, revealing geographical features such as an ancient river bed. That conclusion was based on minerals found in the bay that were formed in liquid.

That discovery delayed Curiosity's journey to Mount Sharp still further.

NASA sees Mount Sharp — also know as Aeolis Mons — as an "open book" into Mars' history. The agency hopes to gather copious amounts information on life that has existed on the planet.

Curiosity has the ability to drill and burn holes into rock samples as well as analyze the vapor it makes. It also is able to store samples in the onboard laboratory.

Curiosity follows the rover Opportunity. In its 10 years on Mars, Opportunity has covered a little more than 22 miles.



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