Answer: What In The World Happened Here? CXLVI: (146)
Dropping the penny.
The Reg & the Forbes articles both mentioned a 20 foot test drive, plus a 1300 foot drive to Glenelg. Which adds up to 1320 feet. And the posting count serendipitously happened to be close enough to a quarter-mile.
So, the waggabrain saw that, no matter how long it took, Curiosity would own the lowest ET (Elapsed Time) Quarter Mile record for a nuclear-powered rover on Mars. Even if you needed a calendar rather than a stop-watch. What a drag! OK, it's a bit of a stretch, but that is what WITWHH is all about, even if it is not on this world.
Which leads me to believe that posting an encrypted answer on all new puzzles is fair and reasonable. Even if it looks like the Polish National Anthem.
JPL once got in serious trouble on Mars when it failed to catch the use of mixed units by a contractor. So, I am skeptical of records for English distances. After all, there is no quarter mile record for people. That is admittedly too bad, since we have here a case of covering a furlong in a fortnight (or thereabouts).
Saltydog made some good points about this puzzle being pushing obscurity to new realms.
I am not sure I see the need for encryption (which doesn ot address the availability of various tools on the Internet). I see this as a gentlemsn's (oops... lady's and gentlemsn's) game. I trust people to stick with their original solutions. I don't think this was ever supposed to be about just place -- the event is the answer, especially if wagga made the puzzle. And I think it would be nice to maintain some linkage between original (or at least early) clues and solutions.