Tags: curiosity | rover | selfie | nasa | anniversary

Curiosity Rover Celebrates 1-Year Martian Anniversary With a Selfie

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 12:28 PM

NASA released a photo Monday of the Mars rover Curiosity taking a celebratory "selfie" after completing its first year — on the Martian calendar — rolling through the dusty red planet.

As of Tuesday, Curiosity has spent 687 Earth days on Mars examining whether the planet once had the environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, according to NASA. The space agency wrote that Curiosity has traveled nearly five miles since landing on the Mars, drilling and inspecting rocks and dust along the way.

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"One of Curiosity's first major findings after landing on the Red Planet in August 2012 was an ancient riverbed at its landing site," NASA wrote in a post on its website. "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."



Along its travels, the Curiosity rover stopped to drill and collect a sample from a sandstone site called Windjana, according to NASA. The agency's statement said the rover has a rock-powder sample from the site for follow-up analysis.

"Windjana has more magnetite than previous samples we've analyzed," David Blake, of NASA's Ames Research Center, said in a statement. "A key question is whether this magnetite is a component of the original basalt or resulted from later processes, such as would happen in water-soaked basaltic sediments. The answer is important to our understanding of habitability and the nature of the early-Mars environment."

The Los Angeles Times reported that Curiosity suffered some wheel damage at the end of 2013, forcing scientists to rethink some of the rover's routes and pick-up trails with less sharp turns and embedded rocks.

Since last August, Curiosity has been driving autonomously, guiding itself onto ground that its handlers had not vetted in advance, wrote Space.com at the time.

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NASA released a photo Monday of the Mars rover Curiosity taking a celebratory "selfie" after completing its first year — on the Martian calendar — rolling through the dusty red planet.
curiosity, rover, selfie, nasa, anniversary
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2014-28-24
Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 12:28 PM
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