Mars Rover – Curiosity – what is “his” mission and what was accomplished so far?
The Mars Rover, Curiosity is the first man made vehicle to ever land on another planet in our solar system. It has been launched on November 26, 2011, it weights over a ton, is packed with a multitude of cameras and sensors and it has been exploring Mars since 5 August 2012. The mission of the mobile laboratory is to explore the Martian planet, to check for water, signs of life or anything else that might uncover the secrets of the planet.
The rover has been doing great so far, it is fully operational, it transmits data regularly and it also can receive commands from Earth, though it can mind its own program automatically.
One of the first measurements that really got scientists talking was a total measurement of natural gas in its atmosphere – which, if the measurement would have proven correct, would have been a sure sign of some sort of life in the past of mars. However, the measurement was deemed erroneous, as the chemical composition that was measured had Earth bound provenance.
Another interesting discovery has to do with a few samples that the rover collected – they were sand like, but large and very round. Initially the team at NASA believed them to be bits and pieces from when the rover had landed, but later it was discovered to be local. However, the formations failed to present any interesting information, but the teams are still hoping while continuing to analyze the data.
Curiosity’s landing was a great success for the NASA team, as chances for it landing without issues were somewhere in the 40 percent range. Along with a host of data that is analyzed chemically and spectrographically, the rover is also sending high quality pictures back to Earth which have attracted many visitors so far.