After Curiosity's "smart" trek, mission managers evaluated Curiosity's performance and then completed the drive on Sept. 8 with a 80 feet (24.3 meter) rove to the crest of a rise nicknamed "Panorama Point." From Curiosity's vantage point, the first of five stopovers for the mission on its way to the base of Aeolis Mons (known as "Mount Sharp") - a 3.4 mile (5.5 kilometer) high mountain in the center of Gale Crater, the region of Mars Curiosity is exploring - could be seen.
Curiosity Drives Itself, Captures Eclipse
The first stopover along the 5.3 mile (8.6 kilometer) route to Mount Sharp is called "Waypoint 1″ and was selected from observations snapped by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The location has a pale-toned outcrop that may be of significant geological interest, so Curiosity will carry out science operations in the area.
Curiosity has already accomplished its prime scientific goal of revealing evidence of a past Martian environment that could support the evolution of microbial life in a shallow depression known as "Yellowknife Bay" in the Glenelg area, 1,300 feet (400 meters) east of Curiosity's Aug. 5, 2012, landing site "Bradbury Landing."