Review the historic Mars mission as told by KPCC reporters who spoke with Southland scientists and engineers about NASA's most ambitious rover yet — Curiosity. Follow the series online.
The NASA Curiosity rover has been on Mars for almost a year now: Monday night marks the one-year anniversary of touchdown on the Red Planet. We review the mission's accomplishments as noted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Curiosity landed on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012 (as reckoned in the Pacific time zone), and NASA has several things planned to mark its first birthday:
Curiosity team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will share remembrances about the dramatic landing night and the overall mission in an event that will air on NASA Television and the agency's website from 7:45 to 9 a.m. PDT (10:45 a.m. to noon EDT) on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Immediately following that program, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (noon to 1:30 p.m.), NASA TV will carry a live public event from NASA Headquarters in Washington. That event will feature NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station as they observe the rover anniversary and discuss how its activities and other robotic projects are helping prepare for a human mission to Mars and an asteroid. Social media followers may submit questions on Twitter and Google+ in advance and during the event using the hashtag #askNASA.
In a statement Friday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that Curiosity’s achievements thus far “advance us toward further exploration, including sending humans to an asteroid and Mars.” He added, “Wheel tracks now, will lead to boot prints later.”
NASA says the rover has accomplished its primary objective: revealing that ancient Mars could have sustained life, thanks to analysis of a sample retrieved from drilling into a Martian rock.
This video from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory summarizes NASA’s first 12 months on Mars in just over two minutes:
JPL put together a graphic showing some of Curiosity’s achievements thus far:
The next NASA mission to Mars launches this November.
Watch a NASA video explaining the dangers that were associated with Curiosity landing on Mars: