NASA’s Curiosity rover is celebrating its one year anniversary on the Martian surface today. This isn’t your typical one year anniversary though. Curiosity has been on the Red Planet for 687 days. That’s closer to two years for us, but only 1 on Mars (it takes longer for Mars to orbit the sun because it’s farther away).
Curiosity began its mission back on August 5, 2012. It’s primary goal was to determine if Mars was ever capable of supporting life. That mission goal was quickly met when Curiosity spotted an area near its landing site called Yellowknife Bay. This site was capable of supporting microbial life billions of years ago.
Curiosity also gave scientists valuable insights during its trek to Mars. Measurements of radiation levels during the eight-month trek to Mars and on the surface suggest radiation levels wouldn’t prevent manned missions to the Red Planet.
How did the Curiosity rover celebrate its first Martian anniversary? By taking a selfie. Curiosity stretched its robotic arm and snapped a series of pictures earlier today. These pictures were stitched together to give us a look back at the dusty rover.
What’s next for Curiosity? Rover Driver Matt Heverly and Deputy Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada talk about that in the video below.