Mars Curiosity Rover About To Test Laser, Start Rolling–corrected

Mars Curiosity Rover About To Test Laser, Start Rolling–corrected

NASA scientists announced today the destination for the Mars Curiosity rover’s first drive across the Mars terrain.  (Editor’s note:  the spelling of Glenelg has been corrected in this story.)

They have named the location Glenelg and it will be a short trip, about 400 meters from where the rover landed.  The top scientist for the mission, John Grotzinger, said the area is at the intersection of three kinds of terrain, which should yield a lot of data about the geology of Mars. 

Image credit:  NASA/Caltech-JPL/Univ. of Arizona

Before the rover heads over to Glenelg, NASA will check out its rock-zapping laser.  It will be targeted against a rock a little over 3 meters (10 feet) away and hit the rock 30 times in 10 seconds with 14 millijoules of energy. 

NASA is taking everything slowly but surely.   It did not specify exactly when Curiosity would hit the road, saying only it would be “in the coming days” as they first check each wheel, then move forward a bit and back a bit before setting out for Glenelg.   Curiosity has a 2-year primary mission, so there is no rush.

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