NASA's $2.5 billion Curiosity rover is continuing its 100-yards-a-day march toward Mount Sharp -- but it will likely skip scientific measurements and photography along the way, said space scientist David Blake, who created a key tool aboard the rover and is one of NASA Ames' few scientists still working at the Mountain View lab.

"Curiosity is safe and moving forward, but we will probably not make any measurements with the arm -- things that are science-intensive and require staffing," said Blake, senior scientist at NASA Ames in Moffett Field, near Mountain View.

"We won't miss much early on, but if it goes on for a long time, we will be less and less able to do stuff," said Blake, from a science conference at the California Institute of Technology. Blake designed the instrument called CheMin, short for chemistry and mineralogy, which analyzes soil and rock samples.