LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ten months after Curiosity's daring Mars landing, the NASA rover is finally about to pack up and head toward the base of a mountain.

Discoveries and longer-than-expected scientific studies delayed the much-hyped drive to Mount Sharp, where scientists are eager to examine the tantalizing rock layers for signs of the chemical building blocks of life.

"Most people are getting a little antsy," deputy project scientist Joy Crisp said Wednesday.

Before Curiosity begins the 5-mile trek, scientists plan to have it linger a few weeks longer to observe some rocks at its current location, where it has worked for the past six months.

Since touching down in Gale Crater near the Martian equator last year, Curiosity set its sights on Mount Sharp, where images from space reveal intriguing geology.

Mission planners decided to make a pit stop so Curiosity could test its kit of high-tech instruments on Martian rocks and dirt.

The detour paid off. While driving from its landing site, the six-wheel, car-size rover discovered an ancient streambed and found evidence from a drilled rock of a habitable environment long ago. It has yet to turn up signs of complex organic molecules that are fundamental to all living things.

So far, Curiosity has logged about half a mile on its odometer, and scientists are anxious to add to that.

"The beacon of Mount Sharp being so enticing is something that's drawing the team to want to start making good progress," Crisp said at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the $2.5 billion mission.

The road trip is expected to take nine months to a year, with stops along the way to fire a laser at boulders, scoop up soil and use the rover's drill.

In the coming days, the team plans to chart a path to Mount Sharp that will include traversing sand dunes.


Follow Alicia Chang at http://twitter.com/SciWriAlicia .

About News.net

Publishing Services International Limited (PSIL) is the publisher and operator of a worldwide network of online news sites dedicated to delivering fair, accurate and relevant reporting from a variety of the world’s most trusted sources – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

We deliver positive and powerful messages to our readers, providing up‑to‑the‑second news that matters to the individual.

Our promise is to serve communities and individuals worldwide, delivering information that hasn’t always been available to them. We will give them back a voice – a voice that’s empowering because it is theirs – and provide a platform to communicate between themselves and the world.

We believe people are not just generic demographics; they are individuals with their own preferences and curiosities. We are about understanding these individuals, listening to them, and serving them.

We are the new pioneering spirit of news – we’re not talking to everyone, we’re talking with every one.

If you want your news, your voice, your way, on your time – we’ve got news for you.




If you have any questions or concerns please email us on support@news.net


  • Australia, Toll Free 1-800-983-421
  • Hong Kong, Toll Free 800-906-187
  • Singapore, Toll Free 800-852-3871
  • USA/Canada, Toll Free 1-800-830-4132

Advertise With Us

Interested in being awesome?
Contact us by email or phone.