Ladies and gentlemen: we are on Mars, and it’s kind of a big deal. Last November, NASA launched the Curiosity rover from Cape Canaveral, FL. It successfully landed on the red planet on the morning of August 6th.
Curiosity is about the size of a small car, and is equipped with the instruments necessary to carry out the investigations over the next two years. After what was described as a “terrifying” landing, the rover was positioned safely at the foot of a mountain within the Gale Crater, which is the optimal location for the research being done.
This begs the question, why are we so curious about Mars? Called the “boldest interplanetary mission” yet, the ultimate aim of this project is to determine whether or not Mars could be, or has been, hospitable for life. This is why its positioning in the Gale Crater is important–the crater’s low elevation means that if there is, or was, flowing water on Mars, this is where it would be found. Likewise, on September 14th, Curiosity began using its rover arm to analyze rocks and soil.
In the seven weeks or so that it has been wandering Mars, the Curiosity rover has been fairly productive. Some of its more interesting accomplishments include sending back color panoramic photos of the planet’s surface, and beaming Will.i.am’s song “Reach for the Stars” for any and all, potential Martians to hear.
Anyone exceptionally interested in following this mission can follow the Curiosity rover on Twitter (@MarsCuriosity).