This picture was taken on Sol 22 (Aug. 28, 2012) by Curiosity’s rear Hazcam. It shows her tracks on Mars ground after moving around 16 meters (52 feet) eastwards. That doesn’t sound like much, but it has been the longest drive so far.
Her current destination is Glenelg, a region around 400 meters away. This seems to be relatively close, but project scientist John Grotzinger expects the drive to take many weeks.
Glenelg is a slight detour from the ultimate destination at Mount Sharp, but scientists are very interested in this region as there are three types of terrain intersecting. Curiosity may find a first rock for drilling there.
Arthur Amador, mission manager said:
This drive really begins our journey toward the first major driving destination, Glenelg, and it’s nice to see some Martian soil on our wheels. The drive went beautifully, just as our rover planners designed it.
Now that Curiosity is some meters away from the touchdown place (“Bradbury Landing”) she will take another set of images towards Mount Sharp. Together with images taken at the landing site, the science team will use them to create a stereo pair. This will provide three-dimensional information about the surroundings and help determining possible driving routes.
Let’s hope there also will be be a nice 3D color image for us to marvel at!