Monday, August 5, 2013

One Year on Mars!

Exactly one year ago today, Curiosity has landed on Mars. Followed by the unblinking eyes of millions of people around the world, the rover began its career with a daring, never before seen maneuver: lowered onto the surface from a hovering rocket-powered skycrane. Although the landing was an incredible feat of engineering, it was only the beginning, the first step in an incredible journey to unravel the mysteries of the red planet. For all the science nerds out there, here are a few quick facts about Curiosity's first year on Mars:

Curiosity has...
... sent home over 71,000 images.
... traveled a little over a mile.
... fired more than 75,000 shots from its laser spectrometer.
... drilled into and analyzed 2 martian rocks.
... discovered ancient river beds.
... found evidence of PH-neutral water.

In the coming year, the rover will began its journey to Mount Sharp where layers of sedimentary rock promise a treasure trove of scientific data, a window back to a Mars very different from the one today. Although its destination lies about 5 miles from its current position, engineers at JPL hope to cover the distance in just under a year thanks to Curiosity's newly updated driving software. They will, of course, stop several times to do what they are the best at: science.

Lastly, here are two videos from the JPL team commemorating the landing and the 12 months that followed afterwords:

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