Mars Curiosity Milestone: Top 5 First-Year Discoveries
After one year on Mars, what has the Curiosity rover found?
In just one Earth-year of its scheduled two-year mission, the roving geochemistry lab has helped assess the red planet's habitability, while serving as a guide for potential future missions. (See: "Mars Gets Its Close-Up.")
Since its harrowing touchdown on Mars a year ago in Gale crater on August 5, 2012, PDT (August 6, 2012, EDT), Curiosity has been one busy explorer—returning more than 190 gigabits of data and collecting and analyzing samples from two rocks over terrain roughly a mile (1.6 kilometers) in size.
Hundreds of scientists and engineers have been working on the billion-dollar mission; among them is Ralf Gellert, the lead scientist for the X-ray chemical sensor aboard Curiosity. (Related: "Curiosity Finds Evidence for a Habitable Ancient Mars.")