Last week, NASA revealed that Mars rover Curiosity has traveled more than 325 feet (99 meters) along its 5-mile (8 kilometer) trek to the base of a Martian mountain named Mount Sharp. This week the agency announced that the rover's recent long drives have put its odometer past the 1 kilometer (0.62 mile) mark.
Curiosity's latest jaunt brought it 125 feet (38 meters) further along its journey. The drive brought the rover's total distance driven on the surface of Mars since it landed in August 2012 to 3,376 feet (1.029 kilometers).
"When I saw that the drive had gone well and passed the kilometer mark, I was really pleased and proud," said Frank Hartman, a rover driver at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). "Hopefully, this is just the first of many kilometers to come."
This week also marked the official halfway point of Curiosity's first Martian year. The rover's trek to mount sharp is expected to take months. The rover, even in its distance-driving mode, will drive in short segments while researchers will continue to find interesting geological features for the rover to investigate during its journey. Mount Sharp was chosen as a long-term destination because researchers hope its multiple exposed layers will reveal more about Mars' past environment.
(Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)