(ORDO NEWS) — The Curiosity rover completed a decade on Mars, but its arrival on the Red Planet was not easy, and there was nothing the engineers could do about it.
The spacecraft arrived on Mars on August 5, 2012, looking for evidence that billions of years ago Mars had the conditions necessary to support biological life. His investigation continues to this day.
But Mars, like any other object outside the Earth‘s orbit, is not easy to understand. Before it could “step” on the surface, the spacecraft had to endure a fiery re-entry into the atmosphere.
Since arriving on Mars, the rover has traveled 29 kilometers and climbed almost 2,050 feet in Gale Crater, where it landed a decade ago.
JPL said the rover analyzed 41 rock and soil samples, relying on a suite of scientific instruments to learn what they reveal about Earth’s rocky brother.
Curiosity’s arrival on Mars
The rover not only studied rock samples, but also studied and analyzed the Red Planet’s sky, capturing images of glowing clouds and drifting moons of Mars.
The radiation sensor measured the amount of high-energy radiation that would-be astronauts would be exposed to on the surface of Mars.
“Curiosity has determined that liquid water, as well as the chemical building blocks and nutrients needed to sustain life, have been present in Gale Crater for at least tens of millions of years,” JPL added.
Curiosity is on its way to exploring the sulfate-rich Ilya-Novo-Destino region, which it first discovered nearly seven years ago.
The purpose of the Mars rover is to study the Gediz-Vallis channel, which may have formed during the flooding at the end of Mount Sharp’s history, and large cemented cracks that show the influence of groundwater up the mountain.
“We are seeing evidence of dramatic changes in the ancient Martian climate.
Now the question is whether the habitable conditions that Curiosity has found so far have been preserved thanks to these changes.
Did they disappear, never to return, or did they come and go for millions of years?” asks the Curiosity project scientist before the craft can set foot on the surface.
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