Washington: NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has finally got its final destination, as it reaches the area near its Gale Crater landing site. The primary mission of the rover will be to reach the base of mount Sharp which is a three mile high mound with layers of exposed rock.
The rover will be searching the surrounding area to trace out any Martians present in form of microbes etc. Before coming to this final spot, the six-wheeled Curiosity will be visiting a different site that has been named Glenelg after a rock formation in northern Canada.
"Probably we'll do a month worth of science there, maybe a little bit more," lead mission scientist John Grotzinger told reporters on Friday. "Sometime toward the end of the calendar year, roughly, I would guess then we would turn our sights toward the trek to Mount Sharp."
A small telescope in Curiosity will analyze the vaporized material to determine what minerals it contains as it test-fire's a laser. The special equipment has been termed as ChemCam or Chemistry & Camera is a unique instrument that can take 14,000 measurements throughout the mission.
"There's a high-power laser that briefly projects several megawatts onto a pinhead-size spot on the surface of Mars," as per a senior scientist. "It creates a plasma, or a little ball of flame or spark."
Now with the final destination fixed, the travel to Glenelg may take around a month or so.