Landing on Mars has been a dream for every space explorer including the world’s prestigious space institution, NASA. Embarking on one such mission, NASA’s Curiosity rover has now completed 10 years after landing on the red planet in search of signs of ancient life. It has so far covered 29 km and ascended 625 m on the Gale crater, the surface where it landed.
Notably, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars on November 26, 2011, and further made its descent on the surface on August 5, 2012. Today in the year 2022, the landing marks exactly 10 years and the rover continues to move on its mission to find more evidence of life forms and other important elements. The rover has also discovered several secrets of the red planet.
Read on know in detail what NASA’s Curiosity rover has accomplished so far in its quest.
Red Planet secrets unveiled by NASA’s Curiosity rover
Since a decade has passed, the rover has studied several factors associated with the planet including its skies, and captured images of shining clouds and drifting moons.
Among these, Curiosity has also determined that liquid water, as well as the chemical building blocks and nutrients needed for supporting life, were present for at least tens of millions of years in Gale Crater. Speaking on the same, Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California said,
“We’re seeing evidence of dramatic changes in the ancient Martian climate. The question now is whether the habitable conditions that Curiosity has found up to now persisted through these changes. Did they disappear, never to return, or did they come and go over millions of years?”
Earlier in 2015, the rover had captured a “postcard” image of distant buttes which reflected a Curiosity-size boulder nicknamed “Ilha Novo Destino”.
Notably, as Curiosity’s mission has been extended for another three years, the team plans to spend the next few years exploring the sulfate-rich area. Also, they have targeted the Gediz Vallis channel which is being assumed to have been formed during a flood late in Mount Sharp’s history.