One year after launch, Curiosity rover busy on Mars

Nov 27, 2012 by Guy Webster
This panorama is a mosaic of images taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on the NASA Mars rover Curiosity while the rover was working at a site called "Rocknest" in October and November 2012. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

(Phys.org)—The NASA Mars rover Curiosity began its flight to Mars on Nov. 26, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., tucked inside the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft. One year after launch and 16 weeks since its dramatic landing on target inside Gale Crater, Curiosity has returned more than 23,000 raw images, driven 1,696 feet (517 meters) and begun helping researchers better understand the area's environmental history.

The car-size rover is at a site called "Point Lake" overlooking lower ground to the east, where the rover team intends to find a target for first use of Curiosity's rock-sampling drill.

This view of a Martian rock called "Rocknest 3" combines four images taken by the right-eye camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument, which has a telephoto, 100-millimeter-focal-length lens. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

During a two-year prime mission, researchers are using Curiosity's 10 to assess whether the study area in Gale Crater ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

This view of a rock called "Rocknest 3" combines two images taken by the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on the NASA Mars rover Curiosity and indicates five spots where ChemCam had hit the rock with laser pulses to check its composition. It covers an area 3.9 inches (10 centimeters) across. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP


Explore further: Asteroid named for University of Utah makes public debut

More information: More information about Curiosity is online at www.nasa.gov/msl and mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mojave Desert tests prepare for NASA Mars Roving

May 14, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Team members of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission took a test rover to Dumont Dunes in California's Mojave Desert this week to improve knowledge of the best way to operate a similar rover, ...

Mars Science Laboratory meets its match in Florida

Oct 06, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In preparation for launch later this year, the "back shell powered descent vehicle" configuration containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has been placed on the spacecraft's ...

New Mars rover sends higher-resolution image

Aug 06, 2012

(Phys.org) -- About two hours after landing on Mars and beaming back its first image, NASA's Curiosity rover transmitted a higher-resolution image of its new Martian home, Gale Crater. Mission Control at ...

Next Mars rover nears completion

Apr 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Assembly and testing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is far enough along that the mission's rover, Curiosity, looks very much as it will when it is investigating Mars.

Recommended for you

Getting to the root of the problem in space

10 hours ago

When we go to Mars, will astronauts be able to grow enough food there to maintain a healthy diet? Will they be able to produce food in NASA's Orion spacecraft on the year-long trip to Mars? How about growing ...

The difference between CMEs and solar flares

12 hours ago

This is a question we are often asked: what is the difference between a coronal mass ejection (CME) and a solar flare? We discussed it in a recent astrophoto post, but today NASA put out a video with amazing graphics that explain ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

13 hours ago

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

User comments : 0