Space & Astronomy
Curiosity rover celebrates 2,000 days on Mars
March 23, 2018 | 2 comments
NASA's 'sky crane' landing mechanism worked flawlessly. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA's flagship rover has now been trundling across the surface of the Red Planet for more than five years.
When it launched from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket back in November 2011, there were concerns that the mission would end in failure - not only because of the rover's large size relative to previous rovers, but also because of the ground-breaking 'sky crane' landing system needed to get it on to the surface of Mars in one piece - something that had never been used in a mission before.
Much to everyone's relief however, Curiosity touched down successfully in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012 to rapturous applause from the mission team - it was a tremendous achievement.
In the years that followed, the car-sized rover would go on to cover more than 11 miles of the Red Planet's dusty terrain, taking pictures, recording data and analyzing samples.
In addition to discovering traces of methane and evidence of ancient water flows, it has also revealed that Mars was once a lot more oxygen-rich than previously thought.
With the rover still in good health, it is also likely to continue exploring for many more years to come.
Source: BBC News
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