After a prolonged respite, the Mars Curiosity rover is hitting the road -- or what passes for a road up there -- headed for a region of the Red Planet known as Mount Sharp, 5 miles away from its current location. Scientists hope the area will shed further light on the evolution of Mars. Scientists say that satellite images of the region suggest the presence of sediment deposits left there by ancient water.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover has spent the last six months roughly in the same area. Now it's again on the move. In this image, a look back at wheel tracks made during the first drive away from the so-called Glenelg area.
A view of the pale rock called "Esperence." Opportunity took samples which revealed a higher composition of aluminum and silica, and lower in calcium and iron, than other rocks investigated by the rover. The findings also raised hope among scientists who say that the preliminary interpretation suggests that the rock's clay mineral content was linked to the "intensive alteration by water."
Caption byCharles Cooper
/ Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
Earlier this spring, Curiosity drilled out powdered samples which were later analyzed by its in-house laboratory instruments.