PHOTOS: Nasalis Curiosity Rover: 3,000 days on Mars

However, we shouldn’t forget that the existing robot Curiosity is still there and working well after it lands in Equatorial Storm Crater in 2012.


Curiosity is celebrating 3,000 Martian days, or sols, on the surface of the Red Planet on Tuesday. The Mission Science team put together a series of images that record some of the rover’s key achievements.

When We Received These The June 2018 images were a huge relief for the team, even though it was quite a dusty time on Mars. This was because the rover had resumed drilling. “Duluth” was the first rock sample successfully drilled (see the center of the image for drill hole) since October 2016.

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A mechanical problem had disconnected the drilling. By June 2018, JPL engineers had planned and tested a new technique, allowing us to get back to the crucial drilling, without which our work had stopped. 40-440-4 Twice each Martian year, near the seasonal equinoxes, the roads of the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos intersect in front of the Sun as seen by Curiosity. This animation shows the 22 km diameter Phobos transiting through the sun at sun 2359. The transit lasted about 35 seconds. The precise time of the transits measured in observations like this one helps scientists understand tidal interactions between Phobos and Mars.

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The small amount of water vapor in the thin atmosphere of Mars can form clouds, especially in the colder times of the year and around high peaks. Curiosity has observed thin clouds overhead many times on its mission. But on Sol 2410, she was able to observe a special type of cloud that forms at very high altitudes, in this case about 31 km above the surface. These clouds are called “noctilucent” because they remain illuminated by the sun even after sunset on the surface.

image captionBuilding up an extraordinary view of another world, pixel by pixel

This impressive panorama is the highest resolution panorama (1.8 billion pixels) yet of the Martian surface and was taken in late 2019 in Glen Torridon because the preparation of such panoramas takes numerous photographs (there are more than 1,000 telephoto images in this mosaic) over many working days, we often do not have the opportunity to produce them.

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We had examined the clay-rich rocks at Glen Torridon and named them after an important area of ​​ancient sediments in Scotland.

Image caption A robot geologist practices some astronomy

On Sol 2784 Curiosity stopped to take a family portrait of the earth and its planetary neighbors. The foreground shows a cliff on Mars; In the sky, you can see both Venus and Earth-like stars in a dustly evening sky.

Image caption the youngest sediments are to be found the higher up Mount Sharp you go

In the summer of 2020, the Curiosity science team began driving the rover towards a new and higher region on Mount Sharp where it will explore rocks rich in Rocks that are sulfate minerals.

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Since Mount Sharp formed when layers of sediment were deposited by water and wind, the rocks become younger with height. The sulfate minerals in this region may have formed because Mars went from wetter conditions – good for clay mineral formation – to drier conditions that could leave salts like sulfates behind.

image caption like so many grand vistas, this view of Greenheugh pediment is made up of multiple individual images

On Sol 2696, Curiosity completed its steepest ride on the mission, as she climbed the sandy slope below the Greenheugh gable, a wide, flat surface covered with a layer of sandstone. The rover took these images on Sol at 2729 as it looked over the layered sandstones and back over the Glen Torridon region.

Get under the surface and the Red Planet is all sorts of colors

We all know Mars as the red planet, as we see in The Night Sky. However, as our drill tailings gallery shows, Mars can be very different if we drill just a small depth inside. We have now successfully drilled 29 times and the sediments show a range of hues from ocher red to bluish-gray, reflecting the minerals and fluids that were drawn through the ancient rocks. By drilling, we get through the topmost oxidized surface ever exposed to cosmic rays.

image captionThe Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter looks down on Curiosity from an altitude of 266km

Curiosity isolated in Edinburgh. Here we snapped the Curiosity rover with the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter field of view. We had just done an exercise in a place called Edinburgh. Because of the lockdown, an even greater proportion of rover operations were carried out by staff working from home. But after eight Earth years, more than three Martian years, and 29 years of drilling – everything is still working pretty well.

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The HiRISE image covers a region called the Greenheugh Gable, which is part of the lower slopes of Mount Sharp and which we slowly see next year It’s been years of an expanded mission. In this next part of the mission, we expect to find a different type of ancient environment than the earlier parts of the mission, with lots of sulfate minerals.

With no rain in the current climate, dust collects on the surface of Mars. Winds, stimulated by the warming of the soil by the sun, can form large and well-formed whirlwinds known as eddies. They are mostly invisible, but when a strong vortex drifts over a dusty surface, dust is lifted in and shows its shape. This animation was recorded over four minutes on Sol 2847 and captured a “dust devil” vortex within a half to a kilometer from the rover. The dust devil is approximately 5 m wide and at least 50 m high.

image captions celebration of the 19th Century paleontologist Mary Anning

Curiosity took its latest “selfie” on Sol 2922 to celebrate the successful drilling of three holes on the rock face in front of it. The first two holes were named after Mary Anning, the 19th-century paleontologist whose findings in the coastal cliffs of southwest England contributed to an understanding of prehistoric marine life on Earth. Material from these holes was used for two “wet chemical” experiments in which it was mixed with liquid chemicals to extract organic matter molecules that can be retained in the rock. Rocks at this point formed from sediments that were transported in ancient streams and lakes. The humid environment and the presence of organic molecules in several rocks studied by Curiosity suggest that ancient Mars was habitable and viable. if it ever took hold The third hole was drilled to study the dark nodules visible in the corner of the slab.

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A Martian day, or Sun, lasts 24 hours and 39 minutes. On January 12, the Sun 3,000 of the Curiosity mission is marked. the planet on August 6, 2012.

BBC / TechConflict.Com

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