Curiosity Rover Begins Epic Drive to Mar

July 11 [Thu], 2013, 4:00
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has set out on its first big road trip, a long journey that will traverse miles of Red Planet scenery over the course of the next year or so.

The 1-ton took its first steps toward the foothills of Mount Sharp a mysterious mountain that rises 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) into the Red Planet sky on July 4, then made another drive in that direction on Sunday (July 7), NASA officials said.

Curiosity is headed toward a spot about 5 miles (8 km) away that will afford it access to Mount Sharp's lower reaches. This area is the rover's ultimate science destination; the mission team wants Curiosity to climb up through the mountain's foothills, reading the Red Planet's history like a book as it goes. []