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 the six-wheel rover should start the trek to the mountain in "a few weeks" after making three quick observations of nearby rocks. The five-mile 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.