NASA’s Curiosity Rover Hits 2,000 Day Mark on Mars
Ever since Aug. 6, 2012, NASA has been exploring that mysterious red planet in our solar system: Mars. Using state-of-the-art landing technology, their Curiosity Rover has been collecting fascinating data and samples from Mars’ surface for 2,000 days now (according to Martian standards).
Days are measured a bit differently on Mars. Basically, each Martial sol, or solar day, amounts to 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds. With that said, if you were to spend 2,000 days on Mars, it would be the same as spending 2,055 days on Earth.
No matter how you look at it, this is a monumental achievement for the scientific community. As scientists anxiously await further explorations by Curiosity, NASA’s famous six-wheeled rover is set to start drilling once again. Having already traveled 11.6 miles across Mars, the Curiosity Rover’s journey will continue as it digs deep into clay-filled rocks on Mount Sharp.
As the largest and most advanced rover sent to Mars, The Curiosity departed planet Earth on Nov. 26, 2011. Nine months later, it officially made its epic landing on Mars. The primary objective for this mission was to have the rover examine the planet’s surface, as well as gather and retrieve any clues from rocks that could lead to the discovery of past microbial life.
The Curiosity Rover is nearly 3 meters long and is also about five times as heavy as Spirit and Opportunity (NASA’s twin exploration rovers for Mars). It also boasts an impressive travel capacity of approximately 30 meters (or 100 feet) per hour. When it comes to climbing, the rover can easily leap over any object at knee-high level.
Last but not least, NASA’s Curiosity Rover also has a robotic arm that dramatically enhances its ability to explore Mars. Its unique Hand Lens Imager can take close-up snapshots of rocks and soil on the planet’s surface. These captivating images are then used to pinpoint details that are tinier than the width of a single human hair.