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Scientists have decided to begin Curiosity’s climb of Mount Sharp immediately rather than continue a planned traverse along the base of the mountain prior to heading uphill.
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.
The issues with Curiosity’s wheels also played a part in this decision.