Photo Shows Curiosity's Tracks as It Sets Off for Glenelg–corrected

Photo Shows Curiosity's Tracks as It Sets Off for Glenelg–corrected

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover is on its way to a spot scientists named Glenelg.  This photo shows the tracks left behind as Curiosity sets out from its landing site across the bottom of Gale Crater.  (Editor’s Note:  The spelling of Glenelg has been corrected in this story.)


Image credit:  NASA/Caltech-JPL

The view is towards the west-northwest.   Curiosity drove about 70 feet before taking this photo of the tracks left behind as it departs Bradbury Landing and heads east towards Glenelg.  Three types of terrain intersect at Gleneig and scientists expect to utilize Curiosity’s instruments to drill and analyze its first rock there.   The trip will take several weeks and the rover will make at least one long stop along the way to test its robotic arm and the instruments at the end of the arm.

Glenelg is just an intermediate destination enroute to Curiosity’s main target, Mt. Sharp.  The rover has a 2-year main mission during which scientists hope to learn more about Mars’ habitability — whether it ever could have supported life — by studying the layers of Mt. Sharp, which rises up in the middle of Gale Crater, as shown in the image below.


Image credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

The view is derived from elevation data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft now operating in orbit around Mars, imaging data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter also currently operating in Martian orbit, and historical color data from NASA’s orbiting Viking spacecraft that returned data from 1976-1980.

The top of Mt. Sharp is about 3.4 miles above the floor of the crater. 

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