We probably all grew up believing that Earth is the only habitable planet in the solar system. However, with the inevitable effects of global warming at bay, we can’t help but wonder if life’s possible outside Earth. And Mars has always been a potential candidate. Thanks to robotically operated rovers like Curiosity, us earthlings don’t have to wonder what’s life like on Mars anymore.
So far, we’ve had four successful Mars rovers in the past 23 years or so. These are Sojourner, Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiosity. Sadly, NASA had recently lost contact with Opportunity. This left the organization with no option but to finally declare its mission complete on February 13, 2019. That said, Curiosity remains to be the only functional rover on the red planet.
Here’s how Curiosity looks like now after over seven years in Mars
Wheel Scuff Mark at ‘Rocknest’
Vista from Curiosity Shows Crossbedded Martian Sandstone
View From Mars Orbiter Showing Curiosity Rover at ‘Shaler’
Sunset Sequence in Mars’ Gale Crater
Strata at Base of Mount Sharp
Rocky Surroundings of Mount Sharp Captured by Curiosity
Resistant Features in ‘Pahrump Hills’ Outcrop
Remnants of Ancient Streambed on Mars (White-Balanced View)
Outcrop within The Murray Buttes Region
View Toward ‘Vera Rubin Ridge’ on Mount Sharp, Mars
The spacecraft is nearing its eighth anniversary on Mars after landing on August 6, 2012. Technically, its original mission duration was only 687 days. Who would have thought that rover would still be thriving till the present day? Apparently, the rover stays true to its name as it continues to explore and examine the unknown land unceasingly.
Mudstone Rock Outcrop at the Base of Mount Sharp
Mount Sharp Comes In Sharply
Curiosity Rover Finds and Examines a Meteorite on Mars
Two Sizes of Ripples on Surface of Martian Sand Dune
Martian Rock ‘Harrison’ in Color, Showing Crystals
Looking Up at Mars Rover Curiosity in ‘Buckskin’ Selfie
Layers at the Base of Mount Sharp
Target: Jake Matijevic Rock
Getting to Know Mount Sharp
Unfortunately, Curiosity has to carry on on its own for now. But don’t worry, NASA has already planned to start a 2020 Mars rover mission by July 17 to August 5. The space agency has also held a student naming contest last fall. And the nine finalists were Endurance, Tenacity, Promise, Perseverance, Vision, Clarity, Ingenuity, Fortitude, and Courage. Keep your eyes peeled for NASA’s announcement of the new rover’s name in early March!
Focusing the 100-millimeter Mastcam
First Sampling Hole in Mount Sharp
Curiosity’s Dusty Selfie at Duluth
Curiosity’s Color View of Martian Dune After Crossing It
Curiosity Tracks in ‘Hidden Valley’ on Mars
Curiosity Self-Portrait at ‘Windjana’ Drilling Site
Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune
Curiosity Rover’s View of Alluring Martian Geology Ahead
Bone Up on Mars Rock Shapes