Curiosity rover to head toward Mars mountain soon
by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer
June 05, 2013 05:10 PM | 1224 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This image provided by NASA shows a rock outcrop in Gale Crater on Mars. The NASA rover Curiosity plans to study the outcrop before heading off to its ultimate science destination, a mountain rising from the middle of the crater, in the next several weeks.(AP Photo/NASA)
This image provided by NASA shows a rock outcrop in Gale Crater on Mars. The NASA rover Curiosity plans to study the outcrop before heading off to its ultimate science destination, a mountain rising from the middle of the crater, in the next several weeks.(AP Photo/NASA)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ten months after Curiosity's daring Mars landing, the NASA rover is finally about to pack up and head toward the base of a mountain.

Discoveries and longer-than-expected scientific studies delayed the much-hyped drive to Mount Sharp, where scientists are eager to examine the tantalizing rock layers for signs of the chemical building blocks of life.

"Most people are getting a little antsy," deputy project scientist Joy Crisp said Wednesday.

Before Curiosity begins the 5-mile trek, scientists plan to have it linger a few weeks longer to observe some rocks at its current location, where it has worked for the past six months.

Since touching down in Gale Crater near the Martian equator last year, Curiosity set its sights on Mount Sharp, where images from space reveal intriguing geology.

Mission planners decided to make a pit stop so Curiosity could test its kit of high-tech instruments on Martian rocks and dirt.

The detour paid off. While driving from its landing site, the six-wheel, car-size rover discovered an ancient streambed and found evidence from a drilled rock of a habitable environment long ago. It has yet to turn up signs of complex organic molecules that are fundamental to all living things.

So far, Curiosity has logged about half a mile on its odometer, and scientists are anxious to add to that.

"The beacon of Mount Sharp being so enticing is something that's drawing the team to want to start making good progress," Crisp said at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the $2.5 billion mission.

The road trip is expected to take nine months to a year, with stops along the way to fire a laser at boulders, scoop up soil and use the rover's drill.

In the coming days, the team plans to chart a path to Mount Sharp that will include traversing sand dunes.

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Follow Alicia Chang at http://twitter.com/SciWriAlicia .



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Babu G. Ranganathan
|
June 06, 2013
THERE'S A GOOD EXPLANATION FOR WHY LIFE MAY EXIST ON MARS.

In the Earth's past there was powerful volcanic activity which could have easily spewed dirt and rocks containing microbes into outer space which not only could have eventually reached Mars but also ended up traveling in orbit through space that we now know as meteors. A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility. "We think there's about 7 million tons of earth soil sitting on Mars", says scientist and evolutionist Kenneth Nealson. "You have to consider the possibility that if we find life on Mars, it could have come from the Earth" [Weingarten, T., Newsweek, September 21, 1998, p.12].

Read my popular Internet article, ANY LIFE ON MARS CAME FROM EARTH!

Visit my newest sites, THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION and WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2ND Edition)

Babu G. Ranganathan*

B.A. Bible/Biology

Author of the popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

*I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending special creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I've been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's Who In The East" for my writings.
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