In fact, this summer brings several red letter days in Red Planet exploration. Here are 10 things to know about the anniversary of the Curiosity landing—plus some other arrivals at Mars you may not know about.
This self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at a drilled sample site called “Okoruso,” on the “Naukluft Plateau” of lower Mount Sharp. The scene combines multiple images taken with the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on May 11, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS
1. Seven Minutes of Terror
For Curiosity, landing on Mars meant slowing from about 13,000 MPH (21,000 KPH) to a full stop in just seven minutes. Engineers came up with an innovative–and bold–plan to make this happen, but no one could be 100% certain it would work. In this video, some of the Curiosity engineers who designed the entry, descent and landing system for the mission talk candidly about the challenges of Curiosity’s final moments before touchdown in August 2012.
What has Curiosity discovered during its roving so far? The key takeaway: the stark deserts of Gale Crater were once home to lakes and streams of liquid water, a place where life could potentially have thrived. Learn more about the mission’s scientific findings.
4. Pretty as a Postcard
Sometimes science can be beautiful, as pictures from Mars prove. You can peruse some of Curiosity’s best shots. What’s more, you can see the very latest images—often on the same day they’re downlinked from Mars.
5. Take It for a Spin
Have you ever wanted to try driving a Mars rover yourself? You can (virtually anyway). Try the Experience Curiosity app right in your web browser.
6. Mars Trekking
Maybe someday you’ll be able to take a day hike across the Martian landscape. You can at least plan your route right now, using NASA’s Mars Trek site. This interactive mapping tool lets you explore important Red Planet locations using actual terrain imagery from orbiting satellites. You can even retrace the real locations on Mars where the fictional astronaut Mark Watney traveled in “The Martian.”
7. A First Time for Everything
Curiosity stands (well, rolls) on the shoulders of giants. Several NASA missions blazed the trail for the current crop of robotic explorers. The first was Mariner 4, which is also celebrating an anniversary this summer. Mariner 4 was the first spacecraft to return photos of another planet from deep space when it flew by Mars on July 15, 1965. Mariner engineers were so impatient to see the first pictures it sent back, that they hand-colored a printout of raw numeric data sent by the spacecraft, in order to construct one of the first color images of Mars.
8. Pathfinders and Panoramas
Another important pathfinder on Mars was…Mars Pathfinder. This mission just marked its 20th anniversary. To commemorate the first successful Mars rover, NASA created a new 360-degree VR panorama of its landing site you can view right in your browser.
9. One Small Step for a Robot
The first spacecraft to make a successful landing on Mars was Viking 1, which touched down in the Chryse Planitia region on July 20, 1976. It worked for more than six years, performing the first Martian soil analysis using its robotic arm and an onbaord biological laboratory. While it found no conclusive evidence of life, Viking 1 did help us understand Mars as a planet with volcanic soil, a thin, dry carbon dioxide atmosphere and striking evidence for ancient river beds and vast flooding.
this photo as the text below shows this is coming from 1933 july. the photo was taken in a night club in berlin, the women shown in the photo are all male to female transwomen, it is images like these that prove that trans people have always existed even in the most hostile times (Hitler became chancellor in 1933). as a cis male i feel the need to share this to show my trans sisters and brothers that there is hope and there have always been trans folks in the world.