The NASA rover Curiosity has a trip planned to Glenelg.
The destination is about 400 meters away from where the rover is currently parked on Mars' Gale Crater. Scientists are interested in Glenelg because it has layered bedrock. It will be the rover's historic first drilling expedition.
"We had a bunch of strong contenders," said John Grotzinger, the lead scientist on the mission, Friday during a media teleconference. "It is the kind of dilemma planetary scientists dream of, but you can only go one place for the first drilling for a rock sample on Mars."
The team in charge of Curiosity's ChemCam, which includes a laser that analyzes rock particles, will test out the instrument Saturday night.
The first victim? Rock N165, a Martian rock 10 feet away from the landing site.
"We are going to hit it with 14 millijoules of energy 30 times in 10 seconds," said Roger Wiens, principal investigator of ChemCam. "It is not only going to be an excellent test of our system, it should be pretty cool too."
Between Sunday and Monday, Curiosity is expected to test out its six wheels and robotic arm for the first time. After that, engineers and scientists will prepare the rover for its trek to Glenelg.
-- Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News