National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is holding its head high with pride as the agency’s Curiosity rover marks eight years of its exploration on the Red Planet today on August 5.
Launched in November 2011, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars at the 96-mile-wide (154 kilometres) Gale Crater on the night of August 5 in the year 2012.
Over the years, the Curiosity Rover has helped the scientists on Earth to understand various mysteries of Mars that would have otherwise remained impossible.
Eight years ago today, I landed on Mars. Feels like only yestersol! My exploration of the Red Planet continues (https://t.co/t55YTfoj5A), while @NASAPersevere's is about to begin. She'll #CountdownToMars and land in much the same way I did. pic.twitter.com/nowt0kUbTg— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 5, 2020
You know how to make a rover feel loved! ♥️ Thank you all for the kind thoughts.While I may not hum "Happy Birthday" to myself anymore (only did that once back in 2013), I *am* baking up some sweet science with my SAM instrument. https://t.co/hJrvtFZVgn pic.twitter.com/N1cRFbzSCX— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 5, 2020
As the mission marked eight years, NASA has released a list of all the major results given by the agency’s rover over the years.
Here's a look at them:
1. Evidence of continuous water flow on the surface of Mars in the past: One of the most important questions about living conditions on Mars included information about the presence of water and oxygen. Curiosity discovered smooth, rounded pebbles, confirming that water like rivers and lakes existed on Mars' surface for perhaps a million years or longer.
2. Proofs about suitable living conditions: It was the Curiosity rover which confirmed that Mars has a combination of living conditions that can support living microbes on its surface. These included the presence of sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon, found from a sample dug from the Yellowknife Bay.
3. Presence of organic carbon: The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument discovered the presence of organic molecules in several samples collected from Mount Sharp and the surrounding plains on the Red planet.
4. Presence of Active Methane in Atmosphere: The Tunable Laser Spectrometer, present in the SAM instrument, successfully discovered the traces of atmospheric methane in Mars’ atmosphere. It also found that the content has increased ten-fold over two months.
5. Harmful effects of Mars’ Radiation to Human health: Each atmosphere comes with certain levels of radiation. The Curiosity rover experienced that the radiation levels in the Mars atmosphere might exceed the tolerance limit for astronauts.
6. Atmosphere and Water in Mars' Past: Over the last few years, the SAM instrument has established that Mars has an atmosphere which has the presence of heavier forms (isotopes) of hydrogen, carbon, and argon.