On August 5, 2012, humanity’s biggest Mars rover touched down on the planet’s rusty red surface.The rover would set new records for the frontier of space exploration and was intended to read Mars‘ geological story. Its name was Curiosity, and it was sent to find out if Mars could have hosted microbial life. This is a time lapse of its interplanetary experience.
This mini-cooper sized monster was not only a brilliant feat of engineering, but also the greatest tool humanity has yet constructed to satisfy its cosmic curiosity. Its main mission was to drill deep into the geological history of Mars and see if the planet’s composition was capable of supporting life. So far, it has found a surprising amount of evidence that there was once flowing water on the surface of Mars. It’s only a matter of time before we discover that Mars once held life like our ancient microbial ancestors.
Here you can see it traversing the surface at a relatively blazing 90 meters per hour, picking up samples of rock and analyzing them with its plethora of impressive equipment. In this camera view from the frontal hazard-avoidance camera, you can see the Curiosity’s complicated arm equipped with a super-sensitive hand lens capable of capturing images of details just 12.5 micrometers in size, and a high-tech scanner that bombards samples with alpha particles and x-rays to determine, with supreme accuracy, their composition.
Curiosity is- so far- the ultimate alien visitor from planet Earth. Its nuclear battery, relying on the thermoelectricity generated by the decay of plutonium, is expected to last one full Martian year (687 Earth days), but who knows when this mission will really end. The one thing we can say for certain is that this endeavor has attracted the eyes of the world, and will continue to do so until we find out that Mars actually provided the seed for terrestrial life.
But for now, a time-lapse should hold us over until that happens.