NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has begun a planned quarter-mile
trek to the first science target beyond its landing site, NASA said Wednesday.
"We are on our way,"
project scientist John Grotzinger, with the California Institute of Technology,
The drive to Glenelg, a
point east of the rover's landing site where three different types of terrain
intersect, will take several weeks, with stops along the way.
On Tuesday, Curiosity
drove about 52 feet, longer than its previous two test drives combined.
"It's nice to see some
Martian soil on our wheels," said
mission manager Arthur Amador, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Curiosity, a one-ton,
nuclear-powered roving chemistry lab, touched down inside Gale Crater on Aug. 6 to begin a
two-year mission to determine if Mars has or ever had the ingredients for life
to evolve and be preserved.
Images: Top: Tracks
from Curiosity’s eastward drive during its 22nd day on Mars. The rover’s rear
Hazard Avoidance Camera took the shot with its fisheye lens after the 52-foot
drive. Right: Soils clinging on the rover’s right middle and rear wheels. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech