July 13, 2013
Curiosity Completes Third Drive, Covers 135 Feet In One Day
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On Tuesday, July 9, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drove 135 feet. This was the third drive of a journey of many months from the "Glenelg" area to Mount Sharp.
The mission finished its investigation of science targets in the Glenelg area last week. Glenelg is about 500 yards east of Curiosity's landing site. The next major destination for Curiosity is at the lower layers of Mount Sharp, approximately 5 miles southwest of Glenelg. The drive on July 9 brought Curiosity's odometer to about 325 feet since completing the investigations at Glenelg, and about 0.51 miles since landing on Mars in August 2012.
In the middle of Gale Crater, Mount Sharp exposes many layers where the scientific team anticipates finding evidence of how the ancient Martian environment changed and evolved. Glenelg area targets, where Curiosity spent most of the first half of 2013, revealed evidence for an ancient wet environment that had conditions favorable for microbial life, which means the mission has already accomplished its main science objective.
The Mars Science Laboratory Project is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. JPL designed and built the Curiosity rover.