see the rover’s major discoveries on Mars

NASA get together day! Exactly 10 years in the past, at 2:33 am (GMT) on August 5, 2012, the spacecraft landed on Mars. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the house probe that carried the Curiosity rover, a robotic jeep designed to discover the Red Planet.

10 years in the past, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars, starting an incredible journey of discovery. Photo: NASA/Revelation

Its mission was initially imagined to final one Martian 12 months, equal to no less than two Earth years, however its longevity exceeded expectations. They traveled greater than 28 kilometers, took greater than 494,000 photos, nailed 35 rocks and picked up six soil samples that gave us worthwhile details about the geology and historical past of Mars, along with serving as younger folks about 880 scientific articles.

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At 2.2 m lengthy, 2.7 m broad, 3 m excessive and weighing round 900 kg, the Curiosity rover has a restricted lifespan attributable to the sturdiness of its mechanical elements, that are in good situation, and its energy supply, the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG), which runs on plutonium. Barring a major mechanical failure, the rover ought to proceed to discover Mars for an additional 4 years, in accordance with the mission’s official weblog on NASA’s web site, which introduced 2026 as the mission’s last 12 months.

Until then, he nonetheless guarantees plenty of science and – having his identify – brings plenty of “curiosity” about our admirable neighbor, utilizing his scientific devices 11. corresponding to Digital Vision gathered to have a good time 10 years of rover research on Martian soil. See under.

Check out 10 information about Mars revealed by the Curiosity rover

1- Water in Gale Crater

One of the nice issues Chidwi will go away to posterity is the discovery that Gale Crater, its 154 km crater, as soon as had lakes and rivers.

Gale Crater on Mars
Image of Gale Crater, on Mars, the place Curiosity landed in 2012. Photo: Reveal/NASA/JPL

In the information collected by the rover, researchers discovered boron, a component that may stabilize the sugars used to make RNA. Curiosity additionally collected carbon-12 samples. On Earth, organisms choose to make use of carbon-12 for his or her metabolism, so enrichment of historical rocks with this isotope is usually interpreted as an indicator of biotic chemistry.

In quick: based mostly on Curiosity data, NASA scientists have stated that this a part of Mars may have housed between 5 million and 10 million folks on Earth years in the past.

2- Detection of methane

Methane particles have been detected six occasions in the rover’s sensors because it landed on Mars. Scientists have been more than happy with their findings, as a result of nearly all of the methane in the Earth’s ambiance got here from pure sources. According to the researchers, this methane signature could possibly be the key to discovering indicators of life on Mars.

However, it’s attainable that the Martian methane is produced by processes unrelated to life, however even these occasions are encouraging as a result of they could point out geological occasions intently associated to the presence of liquid water, which is essential for the well-being of life. previous or current.

3- The largest picture of the Red Planet

Expert photographer, the Curiosity rover captured the largest picture of the Martian panorama thus far. More than 1,000 photos taken in November 2019 with 1.8 billion pixels and a measurement of two.43 GB, exhibiting “Glen Torridon”, the space on the facet of Mount Sharp.

According to NASA, it took greater than 6.5 hours a day, over 4 days, for the automobile to seize the photos that made up the picture.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

4- The lowest elevation on your route

In March 2020, the Curiosity rover climbed the steepest slope on Mars, climbing the Greenheugh Pediment, a slope with an angle of 31 levels. As it was designed to have a look at 45 levels, it was not in peril of falling throughout the coaching.

And what would you do if you happen to have been in the footwear of a researcher? In the center of social media, I wager your reply is: selfie! And that is precisely what he did, documenting the second that entered not solely his historical past however the historical past of all Martian exploration.

5- Climate change

At some level in its historical past, Mars went from a moist and liveable place to a dry and harsh place.

And the Curiosity rover might have discovered clues which will have triggered this local weather change. “We’ve devoted the previous couple of years to researching clay-bearing rocks that fashioned in oceans and lakes,” stated Associate Astronomer Abigail Fraeman in a video launched by NASA final 12 months. “It’s simply that now we’re coming into an space the place the rocks are stuffed with salts referred to as ‘sulfates’. These vitamins kind in the dry setting, so we expect that this area can present us how the local weather of Mars started to vary.”

6- Moving clouds and producing wind power

At the finish of final 12 months, the Curiosity rover took stunning photos of the Martian ambiance: touring clouds passing by its analysis station on Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons). The file goals to measure the pace of those clouds.

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), this was not straightforward, as a result of the rover’s cameras weren’t designed to have a look at the sky, however to {photograph} the rocks on the floor of Mars and the look of the planet. historical indicators of habitation.

NASA's Curiosity rover captured images of clouds in the sky on Mars on December 12, 2021.
NASA’s Curiosity rover captured photos of clouds in the sky on Mars on December 12, 2021. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“These clouds are very excessive, about 80 kilometers from the floor. It could be very chilly presently, which signifies that these clouds are fabricated from carbon dioxide ice somewhat than water ice clouds, that are normally discovered at low altitudes,” stated JPL.

The pace at which the clouds have been transferring was not revealed, however the wind pace close to Mars ranges from 7 km/h to 35 km/h, which might be too quick to supply wind energy to our neighbor.

7- The previous door

Among the practically 500,000 photos taken to date by Curiosity on its journey to Mars, these exhibiting the world’s most superb formations stand out.

One of them, he spoke on tv two months in the past: an image that appears like a door in the middle of Martian house. Although many assume that it could possibly be an alien portal or a passageway to the middle of the world, the reality is that it’s all about motion.

“It’s true that it could appear to be a small door, however it’s really fabricated from nature! It may really feel like a door as a result of your thoughts is making an attempt to make sense of the unknown. (This known as ‘pareidolia’),” defined Curiosity’s Twitter account.

History took the alternative to make a pun on the examine of world historical past. “In an actual sense, my science staff is excited about these rocks as ‘an historical door.’ As I climb this mountain [o Monte Sharp]I see plenty of clay being changed by mineral salts referred to as sulfates – proof of how water dried up on Mars billions of years in the past.”

8- Rare minerals present more moderen eruptions than beforehand thought

In July 2015, the Curiosity rover found uncommon quartz in the Gale Crater space. Recently, the findings have been reported by NASA, after in depth analysis. Scientists consider {that a} small piece of tridymite was ejected by a volcano and fell into the cave 1 billion years in the past, the place the water was.

The rarest factor on Earth, tridymite is a kind of quartz – a type of silica – fashioned underneath excessive temperature and low strain, and the way it bought to the historical ocean has been puzzling researchers for the previous seven years.

NASA’s Curiosity rover drilled this gap to gather samples from the “Buckskin” rocks on July 30, 2015, the place it discovered a uncommon mineral referred to as tridymite. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“The discovery of tridymite in the mud rock of Gale Crater is one in every of the most shocking discoveries of the Curiosity rover in its 10 years of exploring Mars,” stated Kirsten Siebach, a professor at Rice University and one in every of the researchers. phrases. “This salt is normally related to volcanic eruptions fabricated from quartz, volcanic eruptions and metamorphism on Earth, however we discovered it underneath the historical ocean of Mars, the place many volcanoes are very previous.”

According to the company, the findings present that the Martian magma has remained for a very long time in the chamber beneath the volcano, inflicting it to crystallize slowly and giving the lava a considerable amount of silicon.

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9- Natural protect in opposition to radiation

In ten years of exploration, Curiosity has discovered greater than it anticipated. “One of the least talked about, however most essential and thrilling forms of science, is the environmental science that we have been doing,” Fraeman stated.

According to the web site, the rover is supplied with radiation detectors and environmental and atmospheric sensors which have been used efficiently on Mars. For instance, all the time he was touring, when he approached the locations in the sky corresponding to rocks and mountains, his tools realized that the rocks prevented the daylight from reaching him. “Now we are able to use this as a mannequin for future astronauts, who can use the pure setting as a protect.”

10 – Fun associates

This final curiosity shouldn’t be about Curiosity’s findings on Mars, however about the rover itself: it at all times has companions. For seven years, Curiosity was with Opportunity, the NASA rover that reached Mars in 2004 and was energetic till the center of 2018. After a brief interval of “loneliness”, the boy born that day was related to the InSight lander. which arrived at Elysium Planitia in November 2018 with the purpose of finding out the inside of the planet.

In February 2021, the rover Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter arrived, and in May, the Chinese rover Zhurong. In the close to future, it could be joined by Rosalind Fraknlin from Europe (aka ExoMars), which is because of take off this 12 months on a Russian rocket. Those plans have been imagined to be canceled after Russia annexed Ukraine, and it is unclear when (or how) they are going to be launched.

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