NASA’s Mars rover arrives at next science destination

PTI Washington | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on April 07, 2014

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of various rock types at waypoint called "the Kimberley" shortly after arriving at the location on April 2, 2014. The site offers a diversity of rock types exposed close together in a decipherable geological relationship to each other. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)   -  NASA

This map shows the route driven by NASA's Curiosity Mars in its approach to and April 1, 2014, arrival at a waypoint called "the Kimberley," which rover team scientists chose in 2013 as the location for the mission's next major investigations. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)   -  NASA

This view from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover was taken the day before the rover's final approach drive to "the Kimberley" waypoint, selected months ago as the location for the mission's next major investigations. It combines several frames taken by the Navigation Camera on April 1, 2014. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)   -  NASA

This map shows the route driven by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover from the "Bradbury Landing" location where it landed in August 2012 (the start of the line in upper right) to a major waypoint called "the Kimberley." (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)   -  NASA

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has arrived at a scientifically enticing destination to carry out the next drilling operation in search of clues about ancient Red planet environment that may have been favourable for life.

Last week, Curiosity drove the last 98 feet needed to arrive at a site planned since early 2013 as a destination for studying rock clues about ancient environments, NASA said.

The rover reached a vantage point for its cameras to survey four different types of rock intersecting in an area called “the Kimberley,” after a region of western Australia.

“This is the spot on the map we’ve been headed for, on a little rise that gives us a great view for context imaging of the outcrops at the Kimberley,” said Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Rice is the science planning lead for what are expected to be several weeks of observations, sample-drilling and on-board laboratory analysis of the area’s rocks.

With arrival at this location, Curiosity has driven at total of 6.1 km since landing inside the Gale Crater on Mars in August 2012.

The mission’s investigations at the Kimberley are planned as the most extensive since Curiosity spent the first half of 2013 in an area called Yellowknife Bay.

At Yellowknife Bay, the one-tonne rover examined the first samples ever drilled from rocks on Mars and found the signature of an ancient lake-bed environment providing chemical ingredients and energy necessary for life.

At the Kimberley and, later, at outcrops on the slope of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater, researchers plan to use Curiosity’s science instruments to learn more about habitable past conditions and environmental changes.

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Published on April 07, 2014
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