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NASA’s Curiosity Rover on Mars: On a Roll!

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Mast Camera (Mastcam) (MSSS-MALIN) image taken on Sol 340.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has issued a map showing the route driven by the rover Curiosity through the 342 Martian day, or sol, as of July 21, 2013.

Shown in the map, the numbering of the dots along the line indicates the sol number of each drive. North is up. The scale bar is 200 meters (656 feet).

From Sol 340 to Sol 342, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 191.9 feet (58.49 meters).

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Curiosity touched down on the red planet within Gale Crater on Aug. 5, 2012, U.S. west coast time.

Gale Crater spans 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter and holds a mountain — which is informally named “Mount Sharp” – a feature that rises higher from the crater floor than Mount Rainier rises above Seattle!

Gale is about the combined area of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The wheeled machine this month began a drive of many months from an area where it found evidence for a past environment favorable for microbial life, toward Mount Sharp, where researchers will seek evidence about how the environment changed.

Recently, ground operators sent the robot on a nearly 330-foot (100-meter) drive – the longest of its mission to date.

By Leonard David

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