According to an August 6 news release from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the one-year anniversary of the landing of Curiosity on Mars is sparking a wave of discussions on social media channels and in the halls of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover and its Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft on August 6, 2012 EDT was wrought with tension as millions of people the world over were glued to the displays of televisions, PCs, laptops, and smartphones, as the mission made its tense touchdown.
Summing up the extent of public interest in the Curiosity mission, Adam Steltzner of JPL said, “I think through it, we dream a little bigger, maybe aspire a little higher and in some sense, we’re a little better—a teeny, eensy bit better.”
The anniversary of the landing of Curiosity was heralded in with a special NASA TV broadcast, during which a panel of specialists discussed the many engineering and science accomplishments of the Curiosity mission to Mars.
Over the course of its first year on Mars, Curiosity has driven more than one mile across the Martian terrain. The primary goal of the mission was achieved: Curiosity determined that Mars does indeed have evidence of ancient environments suitable for life. Now, Curiosity is en route to the base of Mount Sharp, a three-mile-high mountain whose exposed layers may provide scientists with enlightening information about the history of Mars.
As of the release date, Curiosity has transmitted over 190 gigabits of data, 70,000 images, and the onboard laser has fired in excess of 75,000 times at 2,000 targets.
The original broadcast of “Curiosity: One Year on Mars” is available at USTREAM, and runs for approximately 1 hour and 12 minutes.
On the NASA Mars web site, you can send a “postcard” to Curiosity in celebration of the one year anniversary.