Mars rover Curiosity set to hit the road again

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm •  Published: November 15, 2012
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During the first three months, a weather station aboard Curiosity detected brief drops in air pressure, a sign of whirlwinds in the region.

"These events are starting to occur more and more often," said Manuel de la Torre Juarez of NASA JPL. "We expect to see more in the future."

Previous rovers have spotted and even recorded dust devils dancing across the Martian terrain, but scientists said Curiosity has not yet seen evidence that the swirling winds have lifted dust.

Curiosity's ultimate destination is a 3-mile-high mountain rising from the center of the crater floor that's rich in mineral deposits. Scientists had hoped to drive to the base of the mountain before the end of the year, but that doesn't look likely after the extended stay at its current spot.

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