Happy anniversary! On Mars, Curiosity rover has done a lot in a long year – CNN


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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity took this nighttime photo of a hole it drilled May 5 to collect soil samples. NASA said this image combines eight exposures taken after dark on May 13. The Curiosity rover set off from Earth in November 2011 and landed nearly nine months later -- 99 million miles away.NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity took this nighttime photo of a hole it drilled May 5 to collect soil samples. NASA said this image combines eight exposures taken after dark on May 13. The Curiosity rover set off from Earth in November 2011 and landed nearly nine months later — 99 million miles away.
An arm of Curiosity drills two holes into sandstone on the surface of Mars on May 5. The rock powder collected will be analyzed by the rover's onboard instruments.An arm of Curiosity drills two holes into sandstone on the surface of Mars on May 5. The rock powder collected will be analyzed by the rover’s onboard instruments.
NASA said <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/08/us/mars-rover-image/index.html'>the bright spot in this image</a> taken in April could be merely a "glinting rock or cosmic-ray hit." NASA said the bright spot in this image taken in April could be merely a “glinting rock or cosmic-ray hit.”
This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon, taken by Curiosity, includes Earth as the brightest point of light in the night sky. Earth is a little left of center in the image, and our moon is just below Earth. A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright "evening stars."This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon, taken by Curiosity, includes Earth as the brightest point of light in the night sky. Earth is a little left of center in the image, and our moon is just below Earth. A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright “evening stars.”
This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera on Curiosity shows the terrain to the west from the rover's position on the 528th Martian day, or sol, of the mission on January 30. The images were taken right after Curiosity had arrived at the eastern edge of a location called "Dingo Gap." A dune across the gap is about 3 feet high in the middle and tapered at south and north ends onto low scarps on either side of the gap. The rover team is evaluating possible driving routes on the other side before a decision whether to cross the gap. The view covers a panorama from south, at the left edge, to north-northwest at the right edge. It is presented as a cylindrical projection.This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera on Curiosity shows the terrain to the west from the rover’s position on the 528th Martian day, or sol, of the mission on January 30. The images were taken right after Curiosity had arrived at the eastern edge of a location called “Dingo Gap.” A dune across the gap is about 3 feet high in the middle and tapered at south and north ends onto low scarps on either side of the gap. The rover team is evaluating possible driving routes on the other side before a decision whether to cross the gap. The view covers a panorama from south, at the left edge, to north-northwest at the right edge. It is presented as a cylindrical projection.
An illustration depicts the possible extent of an ancient lake inside Gale Crater, where the Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet in August 2012. The $2.5 billion NASA mission set out to explore Gale Crater, which was thought to have once hosted flowing water. Curiosity found evidence of clay formations, or "mudstone," in the crater's Yellowknife Bay, scientists said in 2013. This clay may have held the key ingredients for life billions of years ago. It means a lake must have existed in the area.An illustration depicts the possible extent of an ancient lake inside Gale Crater, where the Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet in August 2012. The $2.5 billion NASA mission set out to explore Gale Crater, which was thought to have once hosted flowing water. Curiosity found evidence of clay formations, or “mudstone,” in the crater’s Yellowknife Bay, scientists said in 2013. This clay may have held the key ingredients for life billions of years ago. It means a lake must have existed in the area.
Martian dust appears on the surface of a penny, brought along with the Curiosity rover and photographed by the <a href='http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/mission/instruments/cameras/mahli/' target='_blank'>Mars Hand Lens Imager</a> on October 2. The image of the 1909 coin is at the highest resolution possible for the high-powered camera -- 14 micrometers per pixel (a micrometer is about .000039 inches). Martian dust appears on the surface of a penny, brought along with the Curiosity rover and photographed by the Mars Hand Lens Imager on October 2. The image of the 1909 coin is at the highest resolution possible for the high-powered camera — 14 micrometers per pixel (a micrometer is about .000039 inches).
The Curiosity rover took this image on September 10 of a rock formation informally dubbed "Darwin," first noted from the orbiting spacecraft. Scientists had the rover stop in this region, called Waypoint 1, because it appears to be a prime area to study the inner makeup and history of the floor of the Gale Crater. Analysis of Darwin may provide evidence of whether and how water played a role in the layering of rocks in this region.The Curiosity rover took this image on September 10 of a rock formation informally dubbed “Darwin,” first noted from the orbiting spacecraft. Scientists had the rover stop in this region, called Waypoint 1, because it appears to be a prime area to study the inner makeup and history of the floor of the Gale Crater. Analysis of Darwin may provide evidence of whether and how water played a role in the layering of rocks in this region.
The 2,000-pound rover Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012, and has been sending back fascinating images and data ever since. Curiosity recently began a trek toward Mount Sharp after spending more than six months in the "Glenelg" area. This image was taken on July 16, after the rover passed the 1 kilometer mark for the total distance covered since the start of the mission. It still has over 8 kilometers (5 miles) to cover before reaching Mount Sharp, which will take several months. The 2,000-pound rover Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012, and has been sending back fascinating images and data ever since. Curiosity recently began a trek toward Mount Sharp after spending more than six months in the “Glenelg” area. This image was taken on July 16, after the rover passed the 1 kilometer mark for the total distance covered since the start of the mission. It still has over 8 kilometers (5 miles) to cover before reaching Mount Sharp, which will take several months.
The lower slopes of Mount Sharp are visible at the top of this image, taken on Tuesday, July 9. The turret of tools at the end of the rover's arm, including the rock sampling drill in the lower left corner, can also be seen. The lower slopes of Mount Sharp are visible at the top of this image, taken on Tuesday, July 9. The turret of tools at the end of the rover’s arm, including the rock sampling drill in the lower left corner, can also be seen.
This image taken by the rover on Monday, July 8, shows the tracks left behind after its first drive away from the "Glenelg" area, covering roughly 60 feet. This image taken by the rover on Monday, July 8, shows the tracks left behind after its first drive away from the “Glenelg” area, covering roughly 60 feet.
Curiosity drilled into the rock target, called "Cumberland," on May 19, and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock's interior. The sample will be compared to an earlier drilling at the "John Klein" site, which has a similar appearance and is about nine feet away. Curiosity drilled into the rock target, called “Cumberland,” on May 19, and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock’s interior. The sample will be compared to an earlier drilling at the “John Klein” site, which has a similar appearance and is about nine feet away.
Mars once had conditions favorable for microbial life, NASA scientists announced Tuesday, March 12, 2013. One piece of evidence for that conclusion comes from this area of the Martian surface, nicknamed "Sheepbed." It shows veins of sediments that scientist believe were deposited under water and was an environment once hospitable to life. Mars once had conditions favorable for microbial life, NASA scientists announced Tuesday, March 12, 2013. One piece of evidence for that conclusion comes from this area of the Martian surface, nicknamed “Sheepbed.” It shows veins of sediments that scientist believe were deposited under water and was an environment once hospitable to life.
The rock on the left, called Wopmay, was discovered by the rover Opportunity, which arrived in 2004 on a different part of Mars. Iron-bearing sulfates indicate that this rock was once in acidic waters. On the right are rocks from Yellowknife Bay, where rover Curiosity is situated. These newly discovered rocks are suggestive of water with a neutral pH, which is hospitable to life formation.The rock on the left, called Wopmay, was discovered by the rover Opportunity, which arrived in 2004 on a different part of Mars. Iron-bearing sulfates indicate that this rock was once in acidic waters. On the right are rocks from Yellowknife Bay, where rover Curiosity is situated. These newly discovered rocks are suggestive of water with a neutral pH, which is hospitable to life formation.
NASA's Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill. In subsequent steps, the sample will be sieved to be analyzed. The image was taken by Curiosity's mast camera on Wednesday, February 20.NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover’s drill. In subsequent steps, the sample will be sieved to be analyzed. The image was taken by Curiosity’s mast camera on Wednesday, February 20.
The rover drilled this hole, in a rock that's part of a flat outcrop researchers named "John Klein," during its first sample drilling on Mars on February 8.The rover drilled this hole, in a rock that’s part of a flat outcrop researchers named “John Klein,” during its first sample drilling on Mars on February 8.
The latest self-portrait of the rover combines dozens of images taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on February 3.The latest self-portrait of the rover combines dozens of images taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on February 3.
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has taken its first set of nighttime photos, including this image of Martian rock illuminated by ultraviolet lights. Curiosity used the camera on its robotic arm, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, to capture the images on January 22.NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has taken its first set of nighttime photos, including this image of Martian rock illuminated by ultraviolet lights. Curiosity used the camera on its robotic arm, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, to capture the images on January 22.
Another nighttime image includes this rock called Sayunei in the Yellowknife Bay area of Mars' Gale Crater. Curiosity's front-left wheel had scraped the rock to inspect for fresh, dust-free materials in an area where drilling for rock soon will begin.Another nighttime image includes this rock called Sayunei in the Yellowknife Bay area of Mars’ Gale Crater. Curiosity’s front-left wheel had scraped the rock to inspect for fresh, dust-free materials in an area where drilling for rock soon will begin.
Other night photos includes this image of the calibration target for the Mars Hand Lens Imager camera at the end of the rover's robotic arm. For scale, a penny on the calibration target is three-fourths of an inch in diameter. Other night photos includes this image of the calibration target for the Mars Hand Lens Imager camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. For scale, a penny on the calibration target is three-fourths of an inch in diameter.
A view of what NASA describes as "veined, flat-lying rock" selected as the first drilling site for the Mars rover taken on January 10.A view of what NASA describes as “veined, flat-lying rock” selected as the first drilling site for the Mars rover taken on January 10.
Curiosity used a dust-removal tool for the first time to clean this patch of rock on the Martian surface on January 6. Curiosity used a dust-removal tool for the first time to clean this patch of rock on the Martian surface on January 6.
The rover captured this mosaic of images of winding rocks known as the Snake River on December 20, 2012. The rover captured this mosaic of images of winding rocks known as the Snake River on December 20, 2012.
A view of the shallow depression known as "Yellowknife Bay," taken by the rover on December 12, 2012. A view of the shallow depression known as “Yellowknife Bay,” taken by the rover on December 12, 2012.
The Mars rover Curiosity recorded this view from its left navigation camera after an 83-foot eastward drive on November 18, 2012. The view is toward "Yellowknife Bay" in the "Glenelg" area of Gale Crater. The Mars rover Curiosity recorded this view from its left navigation camera after an 83-foot eastward drive on November 18, 2012. The view is toward “Yellowknife Bay” in the “Glenelg” area of Gale Crater.
Three "bite marks" made by the rover's scoop can be seen in the soil on Mars surface on October 15, 2012. Three “bite marks” made by the rover’s scoop can be seen in the soil on Mars surface on October 15, 2012.
The robotic arm on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity delivered a sample of Martian soil to the rover's observation tray for the first time on October 16, 2012.The robotic arm on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity delivered a sample of Martian soil to the rover’s observation tray for the first time on October 16, 2012.
This image shows part of the small pit or bite created when NASA's Mars rover Curiosity collected its second scoop of Martian soil on October 15, 2012. The rover team determined that the bright particle near the center of the image was native to Mars, and not debris from the rover's landing.This image shows part of the small pit or bite created when NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity collected its second scoop of Martian soil on October 15, 2012. The rover team determined that the bright particle near the center of the image was native to Mars, and not debris from the rover’s landing.
This image shows what the rover team has determined to be a piece of debris from the spacecraft, possibly shed during the landing.This image shows what the rover team has determined to be a piece of debris from the spacecraft, possibly shed during the landing.
The rover's scoop contains larger soil particles that were too big to filter through a sample-processing sieve. After a full-scoop sample had been vibrated over the sieve, this portion was returned to the scoop for inspection by the rover's mast camera.The rover’s scoop contains larger soil particles that were too big to filter through a sample-processing sieve. After a full-scoop sample had been vibrated over the sieve, this portion was returned to the scoop for inspection by the rover’s mast camera.
This 360-degree panorama shows the area where the rover will spend about three weeks collecting scoopfuls of soil for examination. The photo comprises images taken from the rover's navigation camera on October 5, 2012.This 360-degree panorama shows the area where the rover will spend about three weeks collecting scoopfuls of soil for examination. The photo comprises images taken from the rover’s navigation camera on October 5, 2012.
An area of windblown sand and dust downhill from a cluster of dark rocks has been selected as the likely location for the first use of the scoop on the arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. An area of windblown sand and dust downhill from a cluster of dark rocks has been selected as the likely location for the first use of the scoop on the arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity.
Curiosity cut a wheel scuff mark into a wind-formed ripple at the "Rocknest" site on October 3, 2012. This gave researchers a better opportunity to examine the particle-size distribution of the material forming the ripple. Curiosity cut a wheel scuff mark into a wind-formed ripple at the “Rocknest” site on October 3, 2012. This gave researchers a better opportunity to examine the particle-size distribution of the material forming the ripple.
NASA's Curiosity rover found evidence for what scientists believe was an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here. The key evidence for the ancient stream comes from the size and rounded shape of the gravel in and around the bedrock, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech science team. The rounded shape leads the science team to conclude they were transported by a vigorous flow of water. The grains are too large to have been moved by wind.NASA’s Curiosity rover found evidence for what scientists believe was an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here. The key evidence for the ancient stream comes from the size and rounded shape of the gravel in and around the bedrock, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech science team. The rounded shape leads the science team to conclude they were transported by a vigorous flow of water. The grains are too large to have been moved by wind.
This photos shows an up-close look at an outcrop that also shows evidence of flowing water, according to the JPL/Caltech science team. The outcrop's characteristics are consistent with rock that was formed by the deposition of water and is composed of many smaller rounded rocks cemented together. Water transport is the only process capable of producing the rounded shape of conglomerate rock of this size.This photos shows an up-close look at an outcrop that also shows evidence of flowing water, according to the JPL/Caltech science team. The outcrop’s characteristics are consistent with rock that was formed by the deposition of water and is composed of many smaller rounded rocks cemented together. Water transport is the only process capable of producing the rounded shape of conglomerate rock of this size.
Curiosity completed its longest drive to date on September 26, 2012. The rover moved about 160 feet east toward the area known as "Glenelg." As of that day the rover had moved about a quarter-mile from its landing site.Curiosity completed its longest drive to date on September 26, 2012. The rover moved about 160 feet east toward the area known as “Glenelg.” As of that day the rover had moved about a quarter-mile from its landing site.
This image shows the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity with the first rock touched by an instrument on the arm. The photo was taken by the rover's right navigation camera.This image shows the robotic arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity with the first rock touched by an instrument on the arm. The photo was taken by the rover’s right navigation camera.
This image combines photographs taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager at three distances from the first Martian rock that NASA's Curiosity rover touched with its arm. The images reveal that the target rock has a relatively smooth, gray surface with some glinty facets reflecting sunlight and reddish dust collecting in recesses in the rock.This image combines photographs taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager at three distances from the first Martian rock that NASA’s Curiosity rover touched with its arm. The images reveal that the target rock has a relatively smooth, gray surface with some glinty facets reflecting sunlight and reddish dust collecting in recesses in the rock.
This rock will be the first target for Curiosity's contact instruments. Located on a turret at the end of the rover's arm, the contact instruments include the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer for reading a target's elemental composition and the Mars Hand Lens Imager for close-up imaging. This rock will be the first target for Curiosity’s contact instruments. Located on a turret at the end of the rover’s arm, the contact instruments include the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer for reading a target’s elemental composition and the Mars Hand Lens Imager for close-up imaging.
Researchers used the Curiosity rover's mast camera to take a photo of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer. The image was used to see if it had been caked in dust during the landing. Researchers used the Curiosity rover’s mast camera to take a photo of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer. The image was used to see if it had been caked in dust during the landing.
Researchers also used the mast camera to examine the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the rover to inspect its dust cover and check that its LED lights were functional. In this image, taken on September 7, 2012, the MAHLI is in the center of the screen with its LED on. The main purpose of Curiosity's MAHLI camera is to acquire close-up, high-resolution views of rocks and soil from the Martian surface.Researchers also used the mast camera to examine the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the rover to inspect its dust cover and check that its LED lights were functional. In this image, taken on September 7, 2012, the MAHLI is in the center of the screen with its LED on. The main purpose of Curiosity’s MAHLI camera is to acquire close-up, high-resolution views of rocks and soil from the Martian surface.
This is the open inlet where powdered rock and soil samples will be funneled down for analysis. The image is made up of eight photos taken on September 11, 2012, by MAHLI and is used to check that the instrument is operating correctly.This is the open inlet where powdered rock and soil samples will be funneled down for analysis. The image is made up of eight photos taken on September 11, 2012, by MAHLI and is used to check that the instrument is operating correctly.
This is the calibration target for the MAHLI. This image, taken on September 9, 2012, shows that the surface of the calibration target is covered with a layor of dust as a result of the landing. The calibration target includes color references, a metric bar graphic, a penny for scale comparison, and a stair-step pattern for depth calibration. This is the calibration target for the MAHLI. This image, taken on September 9, 2012, shows that the surface of the calibration target is covered with a layor of dust as a result of the landing. The calibration target includes color references, a metric bar graphic, a penny for scale comparison, and a stair-step pattern for depth calibration.
This view of the three left wheels of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines two images that were taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager on September 9, 2012, the 34th day of Curiosity's work on Mars. In the distance is the lower slope of Mount Sharp.This view of the three left wheels of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines two images that were taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager on September 9, 2012, the 34th day of Curiosity’s work on Mars. In the distance is the lower slope of Mount Sharp.
This view of the lower front and underbelly areas of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager. Also visible are the hazard avoidance cameras on the front of the rover. This view of the lower front and underbelly areas of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager. Also visible are the hazard avoidance cameras on the front of the rover.
The penny in this image is part of a camera calibration target on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The image was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager camera.The penny in this image is part of a camera calibration target on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. The image was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager camera.
The rover captured this mosiac of a rock feature called 'Snake River" on December 20, 2012. The rover captured this mosiac of a rock feature called ‘Snake River” on December 20, 2012.
The reclosable dust cover on Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager was opened for the first time on September 8, 2012, enabling MAHLI to take this image. The reclosable dust cover on Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager was opened for the first time on September 8, 2012, enabling MAHLI to take this image.
The Curiosity rover used a camera located on its arm to obtain this self-portrait on September 7, 2012. The image of the top of Curiosity's Remote Sensing Mast, showing the Mastcam and Chemcam cameras, was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager. The angle of the frame reflects the position of the MAHLI camera on the arm when the image was taken.The Curiosity rover used a camera located on its arm to obtain this self-portrait on September 7, 2012. The image of the top of Curiosity’s Remote Sensing Mast, showing the Mastcam and Chemcam cameras, was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager. The angle of the frame reflects the position of the MAHLI camera on the arm when the image was taken.
The left eye of the Mast Camera on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity took this image of the rover's arm on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.The left eye of the Mast Camera on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity took this image of the rover’s arm on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.
Sub-image one of three shows the rover and its tracks after a few short drives. Tracking the tracks will provide information on how the surface changes as dust is deposited and eroded.Sub-image one of three shows the rover and its tracks after a few short drives. Tracking the tracks will provide information on how the surface changes as dust is deposited and eroded.
Sub-image two shows the parachute and backshell, now in color. The outer band of the parachute has a reddish color.Sub-image two shows the parachute and backshell, now in color. The outer band of the parachute has a reddish color.
Sub-image three shows the descent stage crash site, now in color, and several distant spots (blue in enhanced color) downrange that are probably the result of distant secondary impacts that disturbed the surface dust.Sub-image three shows the descent stage crash site, now in color, and several distant spots (blue in enhanced color) downrange that are probably the result of distant secondary impacts that disturbed the surface dust.
An image released August 27, 2012. was taken with Curiosity rover's 100-millimeter mast camera, NASA says. The image shows Mount Sharp on the Martian surface. NASA says the rover will go to this area. An image released August 27, 2012. was taken with Curiosity rover’s 100-millimeter mast camera, NASA says. The image shows Mount Sharp on the Martian surface. NASA says the rover will go to this area.
The Mars rover Curiosity moved about 15 feet forward and then reversed about 8 feet during its first test drive on August 22, 2012. The rover's tracks can be seen in the right portion of this panorama taken by the rover's navigation camera. The Mars rover Curiosity moved about 15 feet forward and then reversed about 8 feet during its first test drive on August 22, 2012. The rover’s tracks can be seen in the right portion of this panorama taken by the rover’s navigation camera.
NASA tested the steering on its Mars rover Curiosity on August 21. Drivers wiggled the wheels in place at the landing site on Mars.NASA tested the steering on its Mars rover Curiosity on August 21. Drivers wiggled the wheels in place at the landing site on Mars.
Curiosity moved its robot arm on August 20, for the first time since it landed on Mars. "It worked just as we planned," said JPL engineer Louise Jandura in a NASA press release. This picture shows the 7-foot-long arm holding a camera, a drill, a spectrometer, a scoop and other tools. The arm will undergo weeks of tests before it starts digging.Curiosity moved its robot arm on August 20, for the first time since it landed on Mars. “It worked just as we planned,” said JPL engineer Louise Jandura in a NASA press release. This picture shows the 7-foot-long arm holding a camera, a drill, a spectrometer, a scoop and other tools. The arm will undergo weeks of tests before it starts digging.
With the addition of four high-resolution Navigation Camera, or Navcam, images, taken on August 18, Curiosity's 360-degree landing-site panorama now includes the highest point on Mount Sharp visible from the rover. Mount Sharp's peak is obscured from the rover's landing site by this highest visible point. With the addition of four high-resolution Navigation Camera, or Navcam, images, taken on August 18, Curiosity’s 360-degree landing-site panorama now includes the highest point on Mount Sharp visible from the rover. Mount Sharp’s peak is obscured from the rover’s landing site by this highest visible point.
This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. The composite incorporates a Navigation Camera image taken prior to the test, with insets taken by the camera in ChemCam. The circular insert highlights the rock before the laser test. The square inset is further magnified and processed to show the difference between images taken before and after the laser interrogation of the rock. This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. The composite incorporates a Navigation Camera image taken prior to the test, with insets taken by the camera in ChemCam. The circular insert highlights the rock before the laser test. The square inset is further magnified and processed to show the difference between images taken before and after the laser interrogation of the rock.
An updated self-portrait of the Mars rover Curiosity, showing more of the rover's deck. This image is a mosiac compiled from images taken from the navigation camera. The wall of Gale Crater, the rover's landing site, can be seen at the top of the image.An updated self-portrait of the Mars rover Curiosity, showing more of the rover’s deck. This image is a mosiac compiled from images taken from the navigation camera. The wall of Gale Crater, the rover’s landing site, can be seen at the top of the image.
This image shows what will be the rover's first target with it's chemistry and camera (ChemCam) instrument. The ChemCam will fire a laser at the rock, indicated by the black circle. The laser will cause the rock to emit plasma, a glowing, ionized gas. The rover will then analyze the plasma to determine the chemical composition of the rock. This image shows what will be the rover’s first target with it’s chemistry and camera (ChemCam) instrument. The ChemCam will fire a laser at the rock, indicated by the black circle. The laser will cause the rock to emit plasma, a glowing, ionized gas. The rover will then analyze the plasma to determine the chemical composition of the rock.
This is a close-up of the rock that will be the ChemCam's first target. This is a close-up of the rock that will be the ChemCam’s first target.
This image, cropped from a larger panorama, shows an area, near the rover's rear left wheel, where the surface material was blown away by the descent-stage rockets.This image, cropped from a larger panorama, shows an area, near the rover’s rear left wheel, where the surface material was blown away by the descent-stage rockets.
This image, with a portion of the rover in the corner, shows the wall of Gale Crater running across the horizon at the top of the image. This image, with a portion of the rover in the corner, shows the wall of Gale Crater running across the horizon at the top of the image.
This image, taken from the rover's mast camera, looks south of the landing site toward Mount Sharp. This image, taken from the rover’s mast camera, looks south of the landing site toward Mount Sharp.
This partial mosaic from the Curiosity rover shows Mars' environment around the rover's landing site on Gale Crater. NASA says the pictured landscape resembles portions of the U.S. Southwest. The high-resolution mosaic includes 130 images, but not all the images have been returned by the rover to Earth. The blackened areas of the mosaic are the parts that haven't been transmitted yet. <a href='http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=4421' target='_blank'>See more on this panaroma on NASA's site.</a>This partial mosaic from the Curiosity rover shows Mars’ environment around the rover’s landing site on Gale Crater. NASA says the pictured landscape resembles portions of the U.S. Southwest. The high-resolution mosaic includes 130 images, but not all the images have been returned by the rover to Earth. The blackened areas of the mosaic are the parts that haven’t been transmitted yet. See more on this panaroma on NASA’s site.
In this portion of the larger mosaic from the previous frame, the crater wall can be seen north of the landing site, or behind the rover. NASA says water erosion is believed to have created a network of valleys, which enter Gale Crater from the outside here.In this portion of the larger mosaic from the previous frame, the crater wall can be seen north of the landing site, or behind the rover. NASA says water erosion is believed to have created a network of valleys, which enter Gale Crater from the outside here.
In this portion of the larger mosaic from the previous frame, the crater wall can be seen north of the landing site, or behind the rover. NASA says water erosion is believed to have created a network of valleys, which enter Gale Crater from the outside here.In this portion of the larger mosaic from the previous frame, the crater wall can be seen north of the landing site, or behind the rover. NASA says water erosion is believed to have created a network of valleys, which enter Gale Crater from the outside here.
Two blast marks from the descent stage's rockets can be seen in the center of this image. Also seen is Curiosity's left side. This picture is a mosaic of images taken by the rover's navigation cameras.Two blast marks from the descent stage’s rockets can be seen in the center of this image. Also seen is Curiosity’s left side. This picture is a mosaic of images taken by the rover’s navigation cameras.
 A color image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows the pebble-covered surface of Mars. This panorama mosaic was made of 130 images of 144 by 144 pixels each. Selected full frames from this panorama, which are 1,200 by 1,200 pixels each, are expected to be transmitted to Earth later. A color image from NASA’s Curiosity rover shows the pebble-covered surface of Mars. This panorama mosaic was made of 130 images of 144 by 144 pixels each. Selected full frames from this panorama, which are 1,200 by 1,200 pixels each, are expected to be transmitted to Earth later.
A panoramic photograph shows the Curiosity rover's surroundings at its landing site inside Gale Crater. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen to the left, and the base of Mount Sharp is to the center-right.A panoramic photograph shows the Curiosity rover’s surroundings at its landing site inside Gale Crater. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen to the left, and the base of Mount Sharp is to the center-right.
A partial view of a 360-degree color panorama of the Curiosity rover's landing site on Gale Crater. The panorama comes from low-resolution versions of images taken Thursday, August 9, with a 34-millimeter mast camera. Cameras mounted on Curiosity's remote sensing mast have beamed back fresh images of the site.A partial view of a 360-degree color panorama of the Curiosity rover’s landing site on Gale Crater. The panorama comes from low-resolution versions of images taken Thursday, August 9, with a 34-millimeter mast camera. Cameras mounted on Curiosity’s remote sensing mast have beamed back fresh images of the site.
NASA's Curiosity rover took this self-portrait using a camera on its newly deployed mast. NASA’s Curiosity rover took this self-portrait using a camera on its newly deployed mast.
A close-up view of an area at the NASA Curiosity landing site where the soil was blown away by the thrusters during the rover's descent on August 6. The excavation of the soil reveals probable bedrock outcrop, which shows the shallow depth of the soil in this area. A close-up view of an area at the NASA Curiosity landing site where the soil was blown away by the thrusters during the rover’s descent on August 6. The excavation of the soil reveals probable bedrock outcrop, which shows the shallow depth of the soil in this area.
This color full-resolution image showing the heat shield of NASA's Curiosity rover was obtained during descent to the surface of Mars on Monday, August 13. The image was obtained by the Mars Descent Imager instrument known as MARDI and shows the 15-foot diameter heat shield when it was about 50 feet from the spacecraft. This color full-resolution image showing the heat shield of NASA’s Curiosity rover was obtained during descent to the surface of Mars on Monday, August 13. The image was obtained by the Mars Descent Imager instrument known as MARDI and shows the 15-foot diameter heat shield when it was about 50 feet from the spacecraft.
This first image taken by the Navigation cameras on Curiosity shows the rover's shadow on the surface of Mars.This first image taken by the Navigation cameras on Curiosity shows the rover’s shadow on the surface of Mars.
The color image captured by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Tuesday, August 7, has been rendered about 10% transparent so that scientists can see how it matches the simulated terrain in the background.The color image captured by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Tuesday, August 7, has been rendered about 10% transparent so that scientists can see how it matches the simulated terrain in the background.
This image comparison shows a view through a Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity rover before and after the clear dust cover was removed. Both images were taken by a camera at the front of the rover. Mount Sharp, the mission's ultimate destination, looms ahead. This image comparison shows a view through a Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA’s Curiosity rover before and after the clear dust cover was removed. Both images were taken by a camera at the front of the rover. Mount Sharp, the mission’s ultimate destination, looms ahead.
The four main pieces of hardware that arrived on Mars with NASA's Curiosity rover were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera captured this image about 24 hours after landing. The four main pieces of hardware that arrived on Mars with NASA’s Curiosity rover were spotted by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera captured this image about 24 hours after landing.
This image is a 3-D view in front of NASA's Curiosity rover. The anaglyph was made from a stereo pair of Hazard-Avoidance Cameras on the front of the rover. Mount Sharp, a peak that is about 3.4 miles high, is visible rising above the terrain, though in one "eye" a box on the rover holding the drill bits obscures the view. This image is a 3-D view in front of NASA’s Curiosity rover. The anaglyph was made from a stereo pair of Hazard-Avoidance Cameras on the front of the rover. Mount Sharp, a peak that is about 3.4 miles high, is visible rising above the terrain, though in one “eye” a box on the rover holding the drill bits obscures the view.
This view of the landscape to the north of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager on Monday afternoon on the first day after landing.This view of the landscape to the north of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager on Monday afternoon on the first day after landing.
This view of the landscape to the north of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager on Monday afternoon, the first day after landing.This view of the landscape to the north of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager on Monday afternoon, the first day after landing.
This is one of the first pictures taken by Curiosity after it landed. It shows the rover's shadow on the Martian soil.This is one of the first pictures taken by Curiosity after it landed. It shows the rover’s shadow on the Martian soil.
Another of the first images taken by the rover. The clear dust cover that protected the camera during landing has popped open. Part of the spring that released the dust cover can be seen at the bottom right, near the rover's wheel.Another of the first images taken by the rover. The clear dust cover that protected the camera during landing has popped open. Part of the spring that released the dust cover can be seen at the bottom right, near the rover’s wheel.
This image shows Curiosity's main science target, Mount Sharp. The rover's shadow can be seen in the foreground. The dark bands in the distances are dunes. This image shows Curiosity’s main science target, Mount Sharp. The rover’s shadow can be seen in the foreground. The dark bands in the distances are dunes.
Another of the first images beamed back from NASA's Curiosity rover on August 6 is the shadow cast by the rover on the surface of Mars.Another of the first images beamed back from NASA’s Curiosity rover on August 6 is the shadow cast by the rover on the surface of Mars.
NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover, shown in this artist's rendering, touched down on the planet on August 6, 2012. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, shown in this artist’s rendering, touched down on the planet on August 6, 2012.

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(CNN) — A year is a very long time on Mars — 687 days. NASA’s Curiosity rover can attest that it’s enough time for some unexpected life changes.

On Tuesday, the rover celebrates the one-year anniversary of its touchdown on the red planet on August 6, 2012.

Looking back, some things have gone much better than anticipated, in spite of one nasty snag.

Curiosity Rover marks first anniversary

NASA posted this snap of astronaut James H. Newman on November 20, 1998, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the International Space Station.NASA posted this snap of astronaut James H. Newman on November 20, 1998, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the International Space Station.
A #nofilter image of the surface of Mars, courtesy NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover. A #nofilter image of the surface of Mars, courtesy NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover.
Super Typhoon Haiyan lashing the Philippines, taken from NASA's Aqua satellite on November 7. Super Typhoon Haiyan lashing the Philippines, taken from NASA’s Aqua satellite on November 7.
There it goes! A still camera on a sound trigger captured this intriguing photo of an airborne frog in the foreground as NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft lifts off toward the moon. This foreground photobomber stole the show, earning this snap almost 25,000 likes.There it goes! A still camera on a sound trigger captured this intriguing photo of an airborne frog in the foreground as NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft lifts off toward the moon. This foreground photobomber stole the show, earning this snap almost 25,000 likes.
This one went viral too: a new view of Saturn taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. It's a natural color image that shows the view as it would be seen by a human observer.This one went viral too: a new view of Saturn taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. It’s a natural color image that shows the view as it would be seen by a human observer.
A throwback to 2010 for the International Space Station's 15th anniversary: NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson looks down at Earth through a window on the ISS. A throwback to 2010 for the International Space Station’s 15th anniversary: NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson looks down at Earth through a window on the ISS.
NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg takes a selfie with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano behind her.NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg takes a selfie with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano behind her.
From the Hubble telescope: the crowded center of the Milky Way, showing the constellation Sagittarius. Right in the center of the image is a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*, consuming clouds of dust as it affects its environment with its enormous gravitational pull. From the Hubble telescope: the crowded center of the Milky Way, showing the constellation Sagittarius. Right in the center of the image is a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*, consuming clouds of dust as it affects its environment with its enormous gravitational pull.
A historic image of Earth from the moon, taken on July 20, 1969, from Apollo 11. A historic image of Earth from the moon, taken on July 20, 1969, from Apollo 11.
A view of spiral galaxy IC 2560 captured from the Hubble Space Telescope. A view of spiral galaxy IC 2560 captured from the Hubble Space Telescope.
To celebrate the launch of Mars probe MAVEN on November 18, NASA showed off this mosaic from the Viking 1 Orbiter, which passed by the planet over 30 years ago, on February 22, 1980.To celebrate the launch of Mars probe MAVEN on November 18, NASA showed off this mosaic from the Viking 1 Orbiter, which passed by the planet over 30 years ago, on February 22, 1980.
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying new International Space Station residents Oleg Kotov, Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy arrives at the space station in September. A Soyuz spacecraft carrying new International Space Station residents Oleg Kotov, Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy arrives at the space station in September.
Earth on September 7, as seen by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, which looks out for atmospheric "triggers" for severe weather conditions such as flash floods and hurricanes.Earth on September 7, as seen by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, which looks out for atmospheric “triggers” for severe weather conditions such as flash floods and hurricanes.
Drifting away: three nanosatellites, known as Cubesats, are deployed from the ISS airlock. Drifting away: three nanosatellites, known as Cubesats, are deployed from the ISS airlock.
Expedition 36 flight engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA is carried to the medical tent shortly after landing in Kazakhstan on September 11, having spent five and a half months on the International Space Station.Expedition 36 flight engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA is carried to the medical tent shortly after landing in Kazakhstan on September 11, having spent five and a half months on the International Space Station.

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Photos from NASA\'s InstagramPhotos from NASA’s Instagram

Here’s a look at some of Curiosity’s accomplishments so far:

Signs of life

Its main mission: Find out if Mars could have once hosted life — small stuff like bacteria, viruses and fungus. A key ingredient for this would be signs that there was once water on the bone-dry red planet.

Bam! Mission accomplished right off the bat.

It was supposed to take longer. To find the answer, Curiosity was scheduled to take a hike up the slopes of Mars’ Mount Sharp, a peak nearly as high as Earth’s Mount McKinley, NASA said.

But right where the rover landed, it stumbled upon an ancient riverbed.

Not long after that, Curiosity’s operators back on Earth pulled some dirt from Mar’s Gale Crater, which is the rover’s exploration areal. The samples revealed that water once on Mars had been the right kind to support life.

It also found traces of chemicals microbes on Earth use.

“If Mars had living organisms, this would have been a good home for them,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.

Wheels keep turning

That success didn’t make the challenge of Mt. Sharp — which is in the middle of Gale Crater — go away. And on the way there, Curiosity hit that snag.

One of its six wheels broke in late 2013, slowing down the rover’s already tip-toe pace.

NASA: Mars could have supported life

Since it landed nearly 700 days ago, it has driven slightly less than five miles, and its operators are adjusting its itinerary to take it over less rugged terrains.

Even with a bum foot, like a resolute tourist in a foreign land, the rover is snapping lots of pictures. By August last year, it had sent more than 70,000 back to Earth.

One of its first was a selfie to show it had made it to Mars.

Artful hobbler

And Curiosity continues to poke around to see what it can find.

It has fired its laser tens of thousands of times to help scientists analyze varieties of dirt and stone. And it has drilled for more signs of the previous existence of water.

Scientists are still assessing the samples in hopes of finding out just how habitable Mars once was eons ago, NASA said.

In the meantime, Curiosity has found another similarity to Earth in its drill bit, a mineral called orthoclase. It belongs to a class of minerals that makes up more than half of our planet’s crust, and the rover pulled up a rich sample on Mars.

The rover’s drivers have decided to take it easy on Mt. Sharp, using cameras on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to map out a path on its lower slopes.

But that’s also making the paths longer.

With its two camera eyes and block-shaped head atop a long shaft that looks like a neck, Curiosity has a somewhat humanized appearance akin to that of ET.

Maybe it’s a sign of things to come.

During its flight to Mars and after its landing, it measured radiation levels. Scientist are using the measurements to determine how much protection would be required to send human astronauts to Mars.

Scientists create a mini Mars on Earth

Curiosity rover takes snapshot of Earth



Happy anniversary! On Mars, Curiosity rover has done a lot in a long year – CNN

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