The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Curiosity Selfie After One Martian Year

Image Courtesy of NASA

Congratulations to Curiosity and her crew. The SUV-sized robot rover has been exploring for one Martian year now, that's 687 Earth days! It's a good thing she's designed for dealing with dust. As you can see, Curiosity is going native Martian red as time goes by. Curiosity's goal was to discover whether conditions were once right to support microbial life. That goal was met very early on. NASA states: 

One of Curiosity's first major findings after landing on the Red Planet in August 2012 was an ancient riverbed at its landing site. Nearby, at an area known as Yellowknife Bay, the mission met its main goal of determining whether the Martian Gale Crater ever was habitable for simple life forms. The answer, a historic "yes," came from two mudstone slabs that the rover sampled with its drill. Analysis of these samples revealed the site was once a lakebed with mild water, the essential elemental ingredients for life, and a type of chemical energy source used by some microbes on Earth. If Mars had living organisms, this would have been a good home for them. 

There have been a great many more accomplishments in that year. From what they've learned, Curiosity's team can drive her further than ever before each time. They are also checking radiation levels ... they did in space while Curiosity traveled and now on Mars to see what future astronauts will need for protection and has been looking at Mars' thin atmosphere to determine what was lost over time.

For more, see: http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/june/nasa-s-mars-curiosity-rover-marks-first-martian-year-with-mission-successes/#.U6qfBfldXPY 

Happy anniversary, team! Here's to all the discoveries to make in the NEXT Martian year. Hooray!

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