NASA Mars rover Curiosity begins delayed road trip

Jul 08, 2013
This photo released by NASA shows a photo stitched together from nearly 900 images taken by the NASA rover Curiosity showing a section of Gale Crater near the Martian equator. Nearly a year after landing, Curiosity is finally starting the drive to a mountain in search of the chemical building blocks of life. (AP Photo/NASA)

It took longer than expected, but NASA's Curiosity rover is finally heading toward a Martian mountain.

The nuclear-powered, six-wheel rover drove a total of 190 feet since July Fourth, leaving the spot where it spent the past seven months examining rocks and dirt.

Curiosity landed last August in Gale Crater near Mars' and has already found an environment that scientists say contains all the right ingredients for to survive.

The delay in heading to Mount Sharp was mostly due to unexpected discoveries. As pleased as scientists are with the progress so far, they're itching to study the layers of rock at the base of the mountain.

The trek is expected to last nine months to a year with several stops along the way.

Explore further: Scars on Mars from 2012 rover landing fade—usually

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Cassini: Return to Rhea

7 hours ago

After a couple of years in high-inclination orbits that limited its ability to encounter Saturn's moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned to Saturn's equatorial plane in March 2015.

Comet dust—planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

15 hours ago

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from p ...

It's 'full spin ahead' for NASA soil moisture mapper

18 hours ago

The 20-foot (6-meter) "golden lasso" reflector antenna atop NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is now ready to wrangle up high-resolution global soil moisture data, following the successful ...

What drives the solar cycle?

18 hours ago

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

MESSENGER completes 4,000th orbit of Mercury

18 hours ago

On March 25, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 4,000th orbit of Mercury, and the lowest point in its orbit continues to move closer to the planet than ever before. The orbital phase of the MESSENGER ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.