The Mars rover Curiosity, which has been exploring the martian surface in search of life for the last two years, it has reached its final destination-Mount Sharp.
The NASA scientists announced that the one-ton robot on wheels, built up in worth USD 2.5 billion, has finally reached the base of 3-mile-high mountain ‘Mount Sharp’ ahead of schedule. Scientists believe the mountain can reveal many crucial details on whether the red planet once sustained life.
The first drilling is expected to be carried out in two weeks when the rover reaches Pahrump Hills, which is a gray-green colored rock.
“We have finally arrived at the far frontier that we have sought for so long,” John Grotzinger, one of the scientists working on the Curiosity project, said.
Talking about the next drilling mission, Grotzinger said, “The nature of the terrain at Pahrump Hills and just beyond it is a better place than Murray Buttes to learn about the significance of this contact. The exposures at the contact are better due to greater topographic relief.”
Scientists said that the Curiosity rover has already covered about 5.6 miles on the Martian surface and now it will drill into the ground near Mount Sharp hoping to find traces of life on the planet.
The Curiosity rover will cross the Mount Sharp through a new route as four of the six wheels of the robot were highly damaged by the harsh and rough Martian surface last year.
In a statement, NASA said, “This damage accelerated the rate of wear and tear beyond that for which the rover team had planned. In response, the team altered the rover’s route to a milder terrain.”
According to NASA, it has planned to send the Curiosity rover over the Gale crater plains and the rock formations of Mount Sharp in the Murray Buttes region.
Recently, NASA’s review panel has criticized the Curiosity rover mission, saying it lack in its scientific focus.
According to the review panel, the Curiosity mission is the most expensive of the seven space missions that have got renewed funding from the US space agency. According to the panel, seeing the extent of funding and the high expectations from the mission, Curiosity fails to make best out of its technical capabilities.