Mars rover Curiosity heads east to its first destination

NASA Mars rover Curiosity has embarked on its first destination.

Zeenews Bureau

Los Angeles: NASA Mars rover Curiosity has embarked on its first destination. On Tuesday, it headed towards east direction, hitting the road and driving 52 feet towards a spot where its robotic arm will be functional for the first time to drill into a bedrock.

After this, its next destination is to reach the site called Glenelg which is about a quarter mile away.

"It`s nice to see some Martian soil on our wheels," mission manager Arthur Amador was quoted telling a news agency Wednesday.

The drive was the third and longest one yet since the car-size rover touched down in an ancient crater August 6 to study whether the Martian environment could have been favorable for life. The early drives have been deliberately short, allowing Curiosity to identify any hazards on the road and so that engineers can gain practice driving on the Martian terrain.

Scientists have said they eventually expect the rover to travel about the length of a football field a day.

Curiosity spent Wednesday at its new locale, snapping pictures of a distant mountain that is its ultimate destination. Intriguing layers of rocks have been spotted at the base and most of its two-year mission will be spent examining the lower slopes.

Since landing, Curiosity has been busy checking out its instruments and it`s not done yet. Next week, it will make a longer stop along the way to Glenelg to continue its health checkups.

(With Agency inputs)

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