NASA's Curiosity rover celebrates one year on Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover celebrates one year on Mars

Credit: NASA

One year ago, on August 6, 2012, the Curiosity rover sent this photograph after landing on Mars.

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 11:25 AM

The Mars rover Curiosity is celebrating its one-year anniversary since it landed on the Red Planet.

One year ago, it touched down on the morning of August 6, 2012 (technically August 5 for us West Coasters in Pacific Daylight Time). The rover set out to explore Gale Crater and find out whether there was once flowing water on the planet's surface.

The $2.5 billion mission has since discovered evidence suggesting that there was once water on Mars. It has also collected more than 190 gigabits of data, returned more than 36,700 full images and 35,000 thumbnail images and fired more than 75,000 laser shots to investigate the composition of targets, NASA says. It has traveled over a mile across the planet's surface.

In honor of the big anniversary, the rover sang "Happy Birthday" to itself on Monday night using its on-board Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. See the video on the NASAexplorer YouTube channel.

NASA and the Curiosity team are also commemorating the occasion with the hashtag #1YearOnMars on Twitter.

The next stop on Curiosity's trek into its second year will be Mount Sharp, where scientists think they can find evidence about how Mars changed and evolved by looking at the layers in the sediment.

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