Mount Sharp or bust

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.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mapping out the target

This is the general route that Curiosity will take.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The road ahead

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.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS

Curiosity self-portrait

A self-portrait of Curiosity.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A view of Solander Point

Meanwhile, the other rover, Opportunity, has been studying the western rim of Endeavour Crater since arriving there in August 2011. It's now heading out to investigate the Solander Point region.

A rock that holds clues to the Martian past?

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."
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

Dig this

Earlier this spring, Curiosity drilled out powdered samples which were later analyzed by its in-house laboratory instruments.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Distances driven

A comparison of the distances driven by various wheeled vehicles on the surface of Earth's moon and Mars.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Martian shadows

A shot of the surface of the "Point Lake" outcrop.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Martian moons

Phobos, the larger of the two moons of Mars, passes over the Mars rover Curiosity. This is a composite of 86 images centered straight overhead starting shortly after sunset.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Putting the miles on

Another view of the route driven by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity through July 8, 2013.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Rocky road

The Point Lake region of Mars' Gale Crater, where Mount Sharp rises some 3.4 miles above the planet's surface.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Gale Crater

Another view of Gale Crater from the north.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A river runs (ran) through it

During its earlier work, Curiosity discovered remnants of an ancient Martian stream.
Photo by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


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