NASA’s Curiosity rover landed in Mars’ Gale Crater on August 6th, 2012. Since then, it has spent a lonely 9 years wandering the planet, studying its past and present and sending its findings to Earth.
In its time on Mars, the Curiosity rover has made several startling discoveries. It’s found organic chemicals, methane gas, and the remnants of lakes—three signs that the Red Planet once supported life, or was at least capable of doing so. Curiosity has also studied Mars’ climate, digging through layers of dust to see how the planet has changed over time.
Curiosity has also shot a lot of photos on its journey, shaping our understanding of what Mars’ surface looks like. Not that Curiosity has seen much of Mars. In its 9 years on the planet, Curiosity has only traveled 16.14 miles.
And the rover may not see much more of Mars. Curiosity is in the autumn of its life, and scientists say that its nuclear power system is only meant to last 14 years. But that’s okay, because Perseverance is there to carry the torch. And unlike Curiosity, Perseverance isn’t alone—it’s accompanied by a drone.
Source: NASA via Space.com