Curiosity is the Mars rover. Today we explain about Curiosity and its spaceflight mission.

Curiosity

Curiosity is a car-sized rover designed to explore Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL).Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, at 15:02 UTC aboard the MSL spacecraft and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC.

Curiosity’s design will serve as the basis for the planned Mars 2020 rover. As of March 22, 2018, Curiosity has been on Mars for 2000 sols (2054 total days) since landing on August 6, 2012.

Nasa’s Curiosity rover, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), is celebrating 2,000 martian days (sols) investigating Gale Crater on the Red Planet. In that time, the robot has made some remarkable observations.

Here are just a few of them, chosen by the Curiosity science team:

Looking back

In the history of the space age, some of the most dramatic planetary images ever taken have been of Earth but photographed looking back from deep space. This image by Mastcam on the Curiosity Rover shows our planet as a faint pinpoint of light in the Martian night sky.

The beginning

The first image that Curiosity took came back just 15 minutes after landing on 5 August 2012.

River pebbles

The rounded shape of the clasts shows that they formed in an ancient, shallow river, flowing from the surrounding four-billion-year-old highlands into Gale Crater.

Ancient lake

Before landing and in the early part of the mission, the team wasn’t sure what all of the terrains identified from MRO HiRISE orbital imagery were. They might have lava flows or lake sediments, without close-up “ground truth” it was impossible to be certain.

Deepwater

The Pahrump Hills section Curiosity encountered around sol 753 was key for developing our understanding of Gale’s past environment. Here the rover observed thinly layered mudstones, which represented mud particles settling out from suspension within the deeper lake.

Desert Sands

The Namib dunes encountered close up by Curiosity at sol 1192. It is a small part of the great Bagnold dune field. Its the first active dunefield explored on the surface of another planet and Curiosity had to pick its way carefully along and through the field, as moving sands are an obstacle for rovers.

Cloudy skies

This sequence of images taken with Curiosity’s Navigational Cameras (Navcam) on Sol 1971 as we pointed them towards the sky. Occasionally on the cloudiest of Martian days, we are able to make out faint clouds in the sky.

Obligatory ‘selfie’

The Curiosity rover has gained a reputation over the years that rivals. Those of Instagram users for its many “selfies” taken along its traverse. These selfies are not all for show though as they help the team track the state of the rover. Throughout the course of the mission for changes such as wheel wear and dust accumulation.