Los Angeles - Ten months after landing on Mars, the Nasa rover Curiosity is finally about to pack up and head toward a mountain.
Discoveries and longer-than-expected scientific studies delayed the long-awaited drive to Mount Sharp, where scientists are anxious to examine the rock layers.
Mission scientists said on Wednesday the six-wheel rover should start the trek to the mountain in "a few weeks" after making three quick observations of nearby rocks. The 8km journey is expected to take 10 months to a year with stops along the way.
Since touching down near the Martian equator last year, Curiosity has discovered an ancient streambed and found evidence of a habitable environment long ago. It has yet to turn up signs of complex organic molecules that are fundamental to all living things.