PF trend06 Aug 2021 13:15:34 IST
The Curiosity rover recently celebrated its birthday on Mars on the night of August 5. The robot which was launched in November 2011 and reached Mars on August 5, 2012 has been present on the red planet for nine years. It was designed to have a lifespan of 14 years.
With the help of observations of the rover, scientists were able to better understand the red planet. In those nine years, the rover has driven just over 25 km (a total of 16.14 miles).
Observations made by the rover revealed that in the ancient past, the Gale Crater on Mars was home to a system of lakes and streams. This discovery pointed to the possibility that the red planet was able to support life, just like Earth.
Another sign of life discovered by Curiosity on Mars is organic chemicals. These elements contain carbon which is considered to be the building blocks of life. A peak in methane concentration was also observed by the Curiosity Rover. Methane can be produced both by living things and also by abiotic processes.
On the occasion of Curiosity’s ninth anniversary on the Red Planet, NASA shared a photo of the clicked rover in 2018. The curious rover was investigating the Vera Rubin Ridge when it photographed itself.
Curiosity tweeted to its 4.1 million followers on Twitter, letting them know it is celebrating its ninth birthday. Usually the lone rover itself sings the Happy Birthday song every year.
I am celebrating my 9th birthday on Mars. In 2012, I started running. I traveled a total of 16.3 mi (26.3 km), climbed 1,509 ft (460 m) in elevation and collected 32 drilled samples. Time flies when you do science. Thanks for riding! https://t.co/PXHNFvZ9wv pic.twitter.com/42naEmeSsv
– Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 5, 2021
Recently, the rover on Mars captured an image of a small rock in Gale Crater, reports Espace.com. The small structure is only 16.5 centimeters (6.5 inches) tall. However, scientists are excited about its unusual shape.
In addition to the Curiosity rover, NASA has two other robots exploring Mars: the InSight lander and the Perseverance rover. The Chinese space agency China National Space Administration (CNSA) also has a lander-rover module on Mars – the Zhurong rover. After the United States and Russia, China is only the third country to have successfully landed a robot on Mars.