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Curiosity rover marks its first Martian year with selfie

Published time: June 24, 2014 17:30
This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. (NASA / JPL-Caltech)

This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. (NASA / JPL-Caltech)

The Curiosity rover has taken a selfie to commemorate the completion of its first Martian year. NASA’s research robot landed on the Red Planet 687 Earth days ago.

Curiosity arrived on Mars on August 5, 2012. Its mission was to find out whether the planet’s environment has ever offered conditions to support life.

In order to take a selfie, the rover extends its robotic arm in front of itself and turns the camera inward. Curiosity shoots several pictures of itself and combines them in a montage, in which its robotic arm isn’t seen.

It’s not the first selfie taken by the rover as it has taken pictures of itself on many occasions during its journey.

The rover accomplished a number of groundbreaking discoveries during the first Martian year of its mission.


It took Curiosity just several weeks to succeed in its primary objective of proving that there might once have been life on Mars.

The robot drilled into the Martian Gale Crater in the Yellowknife region and discovered a former lakebed, which, according to NASA, contained “essential elemental ingredients for life.”

Despite Curiosity completing its task, the scientists decided to continue exploring the Martian surface while the rover remains operational.

Its journey is likely to end when its six aluminum wheels, which have already suffered a number of dents and punctures, break down rendering the rover non-mobile.

Curiosity made a pause in its movements in spring to collect sandstone samples in Windjana, an area southwest of its original landing site, where the anniversary selfie was made.

But it is now continuing its journey, with the mission team adjusting routes and driving methods to reduce the rate of damage to Curiosity’s wheels.

"We are getting in some long drives using what we have learned,” Jim Erickson, Curiosity Project Manager, told NASA’s website. “When you're exploring another planet, you expect surprises. The sharp, embedded rocks were a bad surprise. Yellowknife Bay was a good surprise.”

NASA hopes that the robot will eventually be able to reach its final destination – 5.5 kilometer tall Mount Sharp.

The scientists believe that the analysis of data, received as the robot climbs the mountain, will help them understand how and why the atmosphere on Mars switched from warm and wet to cold and dry.

Comments (7)

 

Slippery 28.06.2014 12:26

Cassian, forgive me but with how stupid some people on here are I have to ask............are you kidding I hope??

I actually had a guy being serious and ask that one. He just assumed there was a real person there with Curiosity snapping photos and how the Government was stupid enough to lie about it.

 

Cassian Amariei 25.06.2014 21:05

I can't see the arm holding the camera. So, the question is... who took the picture? Probably one of the guys from NASA (sneakily stashing rocks and enjoying the sun from Mars)

 

Graeme Taylor 25.06.2014 16:28

The shadows are consistent, you guys are stupid to a next level.

View all comments (7)
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