It's been five years since the Mars Curiosity rover landed on the Red Planet, and it's making some huge steps forward for science.
It’s been five years since NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover touched down on the Red Planet, and the discoveries just keep rolling in for this incredible piece of equipment. The car-sized robot landed on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012, a tremendous accomplishment for NASA that marked the start of a truly amazing journey on the surface of Mars. Curiosity’s incredible story is captured in a video embedded at the bottom of this post.
Just weeks after landing in the Gale Crater, Curiosity found an ancient streambed where water is believed to have once flowed, a major finding with tremendous implications in the search for alien life. Shortly after, scientists determined that Yellowknife Bay was part of a lake that would have been able to support microbial life.
Curiosity kept making incredible discoveries after that, learning more about the ancient Gale Crater environment and helping scientists realize that habitable environments were once the norm on Mars for millions of years, plenty of time for life to develop.
“NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, which landed near Mount Sharp five years ago this week, is examining clues on that mountain about long-ago lakes on Mars,” NASA said in a statement. “On Aug. 5, 2012, the mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, exalted at radio confirmation and first images from Curiosity after the rover’s touchdown using a new “sky crane” landing method. Transmissions at the speed of light took nearly 14 minutes to travel from Mars to Earth, which that day were about 154 million miles (248 million kilometers) apart.”