News / Science & Technology

Curiosity Treks Into Second Year on Mars

Curiosity Treks Into Second Year on Marsi
X
August 07, 2013 12:30 AM
The Mars rover Curiosity is now in its second year on the Red Planet. VOA's Suzanne Presto takes a look at some of Curiosity's achievements and tells us what NASA has planned for future Mars exploration.]]
Suzanne Presto
It has been 12 months since the Curiosity rover landed on Mars.

NASA says, in that time, the rover has driven across more than 1.6 kilometers of Martian terrain.  It has found evidence of an ancient stream bed and signs of wet conditions from multiple periods.  

Curiosity was the first rover to bore into Martian rock and reveal that the interior of the Red Planet is actually gray.

Core Objective Accomplished

NASA scientists say Curiosity has already answered the mission's core question: was ancient Mars capable of supporting simple forms of life, such as micro-organisms?  

"Mars was habitable in its past," said Jim Green, director of the planetary division at NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

"We found all the ingredients of life as measured in this material that's deposited in this ancient riverbed," he said, referring to Curiosity's findings of hydrogen, oxygen and other elements.

Geologist and Photographer

Curiosity has 10 scientific instruments, amounting to a roving laboratory.  

The space agency says the rover has fired more than 75,000 laser shots to vaporize rocks and soil and study their composition.  It also has provided more than 70,000 images to give us a new view of Earth's neighbor.  

Curiosity is not a life-detection mission, but its findings provide the groundwork for the next Mars rover, to be launched in 2020, says NASA's Green.

"Knowing that Mars was an environment that was habitable in its past, we're going to start seeking the signs of potential life that could have existed on Mars," said Green. "And that, if we could answer that question, will change everything."

Why Mars?

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says Mars is the most Earth-like of the planets in our solar system.

"If life exists beyond Earth, and I am one who believes that it may very well, Mars, for me, is the most likely place that that life will be found," he said at an event to commemorate Curiosity's first anniversary on the Red Planet.

As NASA plans future Mars missions, Curiosity is traveling in the deep,150-kilometer-wide depression called Gale Crater.  It is heading toward Mount Sharp, where it will study the lower layers of that Martian peak and search for clues about the planet's evolution.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid