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Curiosity’s trek up the mountain will begin with an examination of the mountain's lower slopes. The rover is starting this process at an entry point near an outcrop called Pahrump Hills, rather than continuing on to the previously-planned, further entry point known as Murray Buttes. Both entry points lay along a boundary where the southern base layer of the mountain meets crater-floor deposits washed down from the crater’s northern rim.
"It has been a long but historic journey to this Martian mountain,” said Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “The nature of the terrain at Pahrump Hills and just beyond it is a better place than Murray Buttes to learn about the significance of this contact. The exposures at the contact are better due to greater topographic relief."
originally posted by: wildespace
I guess this headline is akin to the "Voyager has left the Solar System" headline - it's debatable and is based on arbitrary factors. (The Voyager hasn't even reached Sedna's average distance from the Sun)
It might be another year before Curiosity is actually climbing the slopes of Mt Sharp.
However, every little headline-worth achievement helps, even if Curiosity has only reached the very edges of Mt Sharp's outlying slopes.