Seeing red: Curiosity rover's first year on Mars

It's been almost one Earth year since NASA's Martian rover touched down on its new home. In that time, it's already sent back over 70,000 images. Here are some of the most interesting.

Curiosity before its journey. The rover has now been on Mars for almost a full year, where it's driven more than a mile and sent back over 70,000 photos.

On August 6 (or late August 5 for many of us in North America), the Curiosity rover landed on the surface of Mars after a journey of several months from Earth. The flight was the easy part. Once the spacecraft carrying the rover was in the thin Martian atmosphere, a braking parachute was deployed, followed by a "sky crane" that lowered the rover gingerly onto the surface. Jubilation erupted at Mission Control following the "seven minutes of terror" during which it wasn't clear whether the landing had succeeded.

During that moment of celebration, NASA's " mohawk guy " got his 15 minutes of fame, but it was Curiosity that began to make history.

Now, almost a full year later, the rover has already shown us much about our planetary neighbor, including more evidence that water -- and perhaps, life -- once existed on the Red Planet. Curiosity has been scooping and drilling samples for analysis, and even shooting at Martian rocks with lasers.

But the best part is that the rover could just be getting started. So, with an eye toward the future and more discoveries to come, take a moment to peruse the slideshow below, a sort of Martian yearbook chronicling Curiosity's first 12 Earth months on Mars.

About the author

Crave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer, radio producer, and podcaster based in Taos, N.M., but he lives in Google+. He's also managing editor of Crowdsourcing.org and has written e-books on both Alaska and Android. E-mail Eric.

 

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