This view from the left Navigation Camera (Navcam) of NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity looks back at wheel tracks made during the first drive away from the last science target in the "Glenelg" area. The drive commenced a long trek toward the mission's long-term destination: Mount Sharp. Curiosity drove 59 feet (18 meters) on the 324th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. It took this image that same sol, looking back toward the target sedimentary outcrop called "Shaler." Wheel tracks in the right foreground of the image were left by Curiosity's earlier passage through this area on its way toward Glenelg targets seven months earlier.
The trek to the entry point for lower layers of Mount Sharp, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) away, will take many months. While working at targets near Shaler in the "Glenelg" area during the first half of 2013, Curiosity found evidence of a past Martian environment with conditions favorable for microbial life. The mission's main destination remains the lower layers of Mount Sharp, where researchers anticipate finding evidence about how the ancient Martian environment changed and evolved.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.
More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.