"In a nutshell, MSL is going after the question of habitability on Mars," said John Grant, a geologist at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Scientists have considered more than 50 possible landing sites for the rover.
According to Grant
, it's not clear yet how big a problem this would be."If operations were reduced by 50 per cent, for instance, that would be a real hit," he
said."But those things are being worked on very hard as we speak and we'll have a much better sense in the coming couple of months," he
But there might be other problems as well."Because the ideal site has to be flat and not prone to high winds, the spacecraft can't land effectively on a very steep incline," said Grant
."The numbers and sizes of rocks on the surface are also issues.You don't want the rover to land on a very large rock sticking up a metre above the surface," he