Earlier this year, NASA was finally forced to say goodbye to the rover's trusted opportunity. It was a sad time for the space agency, as the rover exceeded expectations by any means possible, but fortunately, this is not the only rover on the Red Planet. Curiosity, which launched in 2011, is still alive and well and today marks its seventh year in an impressive campaign.
The rover spent months cruising through space before eventually launching to the surface of Mars, where it landed safely on August 6, 2012, and has since revealed innumerable secrets to Mars.
Never neglect the opportunity to celebrate, NASA and the Jet Lab look back at the incredible life of the rover today and do everything we can to sway us for the future.
In a new blog post, NASA's JPL offers a brief look at where curiosity is now and what's ahead. The rover is currently exploring parts of the Galle Crater on a site known as the "clay unit", where it uses its training to collect samples from Martian soil where water once flowed. The resulting clay already teaches scientists what the conditions were in the crater and hints at what Mars is like for a long time.
JPL also released a timely 360-degree video showing what Curiosity can see from its location in the crater. The images were taken back in June and show the rocky enclosures known as the Tilen Ridge.
Scientists know that Mars was once a much wetter place than it is today, but whether all this moisture has sustained life on the Red Planet is still in your mind. Samples from Curiosity showed that the soil may have been suitable for microbial life, but scientists cannot say for sure whether any bacteria or microscopic life was present (or still exist) on the planet.
NASA says Curiosity's nuclear source still has plenty of juice to make the rover work well in the future, so we can expect many more discoveries as we await the eventual launch of the Mars 2020 mission.