Curiosity: the best bits

After two month's on Mars, we look at the rover's greatest discoveries so far

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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

This is a view of the lower front and underbelly areas of NASA's Curiosity rover


It’s been on the Red Planet now for just over two months, and already NASA’s Curiosity rover has made some incredible discoveries, beaming back the most detailed images ever captured on the Martian surface. As you read this, Curiosity is continuing its quest to discover whether life could once have existed in the barren wastes of Gale crater, but here is a list of some the highlights of the mission so far.

The ancient streambed

Last month, Curiosity discovered the remains of an ancient stream on the Martian surface. The images captured by the rover showed rocks and rounded pebbles reminiscent of any drought-ridden streambed on Earth and provided evidence for an ideal environment to support life.

A Martian heat wave

Preliminary weather reports sent by Curiosity have indicated much milder daytime temperatures than those that had been anticipated by scientists on Earth. If this trend continues, daytime temperatures could rise beyond 20°C, which is a very exciting prospect from a habitability point of view.

The Jake Matijevic rock

In one of Curiosity’s most intriguing finds so far, the rover discovered a rock, nicknamed Jake Matijevic, that bore similar chemical properties to an unusual, but well-known, type of igneous rock found on Earth but never before seen on Mars. The rock could give scientists a much greater insight into geological processes on the Red Planet.

The first photos home

One of the defining moments of Curiosity’s mission so far took place when the rover’s first images arrived back home. After an anxious few hours, people across the world marvelled at the incredible clarity and Earth-like appearance of the rover's first shots of Gale crater.

An interactive experience

This mission to Mars has been the most interactive to date, with the latest social media and technology being used to give the public the opportunity to engage with the mission. NASA streamed the rover’s landing live, sent the first human voice to and from the Red Planet and even gave Curiosity its own Twitter page.


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
 
 
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