Monday, June 30, 2014

NASA's Curiosity Rover celebrates first Martian year

Photo from NASA/JPL
In my post on 24 March 2014 (Mars Rover landing explained), I wrote about the difficulties involved in a successful landing on Mars of NASA's Curiosity Rover. On 24 June the Curiosity Rover successfully completed its first year on Mars (687 Earth days), and seems to have celebrated by taking a 'selfie' (see accompanying photo).

So far, its mission is successful since it has already made one of the findings it was programmed for: to determine whether Mars has ever had conditions conducive to the development of life. After landing in August 2012, Curiosity Rover drilled into the Mars Gale Crater and found evidence of "essential elemental ingredients for life." According to the NASA press release:

"Analysis of these samples revealed the site was once a lakebed with mild water, the essential elemental ingredients for life, and a type of chemical energy source used by some microbes on Earth. If Mars had living organisms, this would have been a good home for them."

The link to the press release on NASA's website: 

The press release lists other major findings that have been made in the past Martian year, which would be interesting for students to discuss and then to consider what the scientific and engineering impacts of each finding could be.

The link also has a video (2:34) with an update report. The narrator speaks very clearly and at a slow tempo. So it's useful not only for information, but also for listening comprehension.

For more information from NASA about the Curiosity Rover: and

Here is the link to an article from Time magazine about the "anniversary":

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