The base of Mars' Mount Sharp - the rover's eventual science destination - is pictured in this August 27, 2012 NASA handout photo taken by the Curiosity rover. The image is a portion of a larger image taken by Curiosity's 100-millimeter Mast Camera on August 23. Scientists enhanced the color to show the Martian scene under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain. (Photo : Reuters)
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity's quarter mile journey across the Red Planet will provide vital information on the planet, the Guardian reported on Saturday.
According to the British paper, the journey, which began last week, will lead the rover to its first target destination, Glenelg, and will take several weeks. Glenelg was chosen because three types of surface material can be found there and will help Curiosity analyze Mars' composition.
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Mission manager Arthur Amador told reporters, "This drive really begins our journey towards the first major destination and it's nice to see some Martian soil on our wheels."
Curiosity, which cost $2.5 billion, was sent to Mars to gather information on whether the planet is, or was, capable of sustaining life. The mission will take two or more years, the Guardian reported, and its success will lead the way towards future Mars exploration.
Although Curiosity will reveal whether Mars is capable of sustaining life, the Guardian reported that it will not prove that life exists on the planet.
Curiosity's success has already prompted NASA to approve the deployment of a robot drill, named InSIGHT, to Mars in 2016. The Washington Post reported that the $425 million robot drill will be stationed in one place on the planet and will be assigned the role of drilling 30 feet into Mars' crust. Other future missions to Mars have yet to be approved or announced by NASA.
According to the Guardian, NASA is not the only space organization capable of reaching the Red Planet. ExoMars, a former joint mission by NASA and the European Space Agency, is scheduled for launch in 2018. NASA, which pulled out of the project last year, was replaced by the Russians, the paper reported.
ExoMars will be similar to InSIGHT, as it will have a drill capable of drilling about 2 meters (about 6.6 feet) into Mars' crust.
The Guardian also reported that scientist may look towards several moons of Jupiter and Saturn to explore the possibilities of sustainable life conditions in the future.
Video Highlights on Curiosity from NASA-
To see video highlights of Curiosity and its mission visit here.