Curiosity rover to head toward Mars mountain soon

Jun 05, 2013, 3:58 PM EDT
REUTERS/NASA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ten months after landing on Mars, the NASA rover Curiosity is finally about to pack up and head toward a mountain.

Discoveries and longer-than-expected scientific studies delayed the long-awaited drive to Mount Sharp, where scientists are anxious to examine the rock layers.

Mission scientists said Wednesday the six-wheel rover should start the trek to the mountain in "a few weeks" after making three quick observations of nearby rocks. The 5-mile journey is expected to take 10 months to a year with stops along the way.

Since touching down near the Martian equator last year, Curiosity has discovered an ancient streambed and found evidence of a habitable environment long ago. It has yet to turn up signs of complex organic molecules that are fundamental to all living things.

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