John Grotzinger, the chief scientist for the Mars mission of ‘Curiosity’ has announced that the first destination of the robot is probably an area called Glenelg, “the union of three interesting geological sites.” This area is in the opposite direction of Monte Sharp, who remains “our real goal,” he assured. If the robot goes straight to Glenelg, should come in “two or three weeks,” but the scientist does not rule out the idea of stopping if the way there are interesting examples. In the long term, “toward the end of 2012,” believes that the objective must be the Monte Sharp, the new pictures will be available and more accurate “in one or two weeks,” he explained.
The mission of Curiosity, the most advanced robot sent to Mars so far by NASA and cost about 2,500 million dollars, successfully landed in the Martian crater Gale on 5 August, where he explained Grotzinger, a place where the landscape “seems the Arizona” and the temperature exceeded 0 degrees Celsius, adding that the exact measurement was “276 Kelvin” or 2.85 ° C.
Grotzinger is welcomed that scientists have again, thanks to Curiosity, a weather station on Mars. As pointed out, “is a very important reference for science as the ultimate long-term weather station on Mars goes back exactly 30 years”, when the Viking 1 probe stopped communicating with Earth in 1982.Grotzinger also introduced four new photos, one of which can clearly see the different layers of rocks of the ocher hills at the foot of Monte Sharp, where the rover should rise during his two-year mission.
“The crater rim (Gale) is a bit like the Mojave Desert (California) and now they see is similar to the Four Corners region (the cross formed by the four corners of the states of Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico), or Sedona, Arizona, which also are these hills and these plateaus, “said the scientist. “I should have hydrated minerals in all these layers,” he added.
Scientists believe the crater area of Gale had water in the past, and ancient geological formations of the Mount of Sharp may have preserved traces of past life. As explained Grotzinger, the robot could test “next week” his first moves of wheels.