It has been five years since NASA's Curiosity Rover touched down on the red planet, mars. During this period, it has amassed a wealth of data and information as it was equipped with relatively modern instruments and camera's, and still continues to make new discoveries!
Five years ago, on the night of Aug. 5, 2012, the rover had created history in the way it had been lowered onto the Martian surface using sky cranes, which was the first time the methods had ever been tried.
The sky crane was rocket propelled and had used cables to lower the rover which was the size of a small car. The success of this unprecedented (and seemingly improbable) maneuver is evident now, but it was a an event which changed the way rovers are lowered onto any alien surface from then on.
People around the world had watched the event with trepidation as the chances of it going wrong was very high, and you can imagine the tension at mission control, as the rover had been built at a cost of around 2.5 billion dollars!
But in these 5 year Curiosity has sent back pictures and data which have given scientists more clues about mars, and the most famous of these discoveries could be that it found evidence that ancient Mars had the right conditions to support microbial life.
The Curiosity Rover has only traveled 17 Kms in these 5 years but we can expect many more years of operation and information yet to come as it travels further on the surface of this alien land.
Happy birthday Curiosity, may you live long and prosper!
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