Rover’s First Year: The Best Pictures and Videos From Curiosity’s Time on Mars
You’re probably not checking in on NASA’s Curiosity rover as often as you used to. No worries, it’s still there being awesome and making discoveries whenever you need a fix.
When the probe first landed on Mars a year ago today, every movement it made was monumental and every photo it snapped was historic. Pictures streaming in from the Red Planet would be passed around online, eliciting millions of geeky cheers. And over the course of this past year, the rover has continued its amazing work, making monumental discoveries and continuing to produce spectacular pictures.
So let’s go back and relive the incredible first year of Curiosity. You might remember the anticipation when it landed. There was no guarantee that the $2.5 billion mission would touch down safely. A large percentage of Mars missions have historically failed and this one was using new, untested technology to land. The rover had to pass through a complex sequence nicknamed the “7 Minutes of Terror” to get between space and the Martian soil. Tensions were running high.
It was late at night or early in the morning, depending on where you live, when NASA confirmed that the rover was wheels down on Mars. At approximately 10:30 p.m. PT/1:30 a.m. ET on Aug. 5/6, 2012, the control room at JPL erupted in cheers and tears. Members of the public had gathered at local landing parties while a crowd swelled in New York’s Times Square to watch live on the big screen. Millions moretuned in to NASA’s online feed.
Since then, the rover has learned about Mars’ watery past and boosted the evidence that the planet was once habitable. NASA and amateurs alike have processed the photos it sends back and turned them into nail-biting landing videos and amazing panoramas that transport you right to the Red Planet. Here, we’ve gathered some of the most iconic and important media from Curiosity’s first year on Mars. Hopefully, looking at them can help rekindle the feelings from the earliest mission days as we look forward to many more years of breathtaking views and discoveries.
Curiosity has a long arm. At the end of that arm is a camera and, by carefully positioning that camera, the rover was able to snap 55 individual shots of its body. Stitched together, these images produced one of the most impressive photos of Curiosity’s mission: A full-body self portrait of the rover working hard on Mars.
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