This day marks the one year anniversary for the Mars Science Laboratory, also known as “Curiosity”. The 2,5 billion dollars 900 kilos (almost 2,000 pounds) rover with its landing nicknamed “seven minutes of terror” hanging dangling from a rocket-powered “sky crane” – certainly categorize the project risky.
Particularly considering all the new technology used and a completely new untested concept of landing. The risk proved worth it, however, most certainly thanks to excellent engineers at NASA.
Curiosity now provides us with valuable data and breathtaking photos of this alien world. One of its biggest discoveries is indications and geological evidence that Mars once had an environment hospitable to life as we know it.
But the rover has really just begun its mission, it recently passed 1 mile (1,6 kilometers) and over the next year, it will roll another 5 miles (8 kilometers). To eventually reach its main destination which is a large mountain residing in the crater region called the Aeolis Mons.
This is the place where Curiosity will possibly find determinate evidence of when Mars was habitable, with traces of ancient or even present life.
But Curiosity will soon get company as the future exploration of Mars includes the launch of the Maven orbiter this autumn. Then the Insight Mars Lander in 2016, a “Curiosity II” Mars rover in 2020.
Then NASA will prioritize a mission to a near-Earth asteroid in the 2020s, manned missions to the Moon again, and even a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.
Stay tuned and follow the continually updated information in the NASA web-tv series “NASA Mars Curiosity Rover Report” (see tag Mars Curiosity Rover Report).
1 Year Anniversary