21 kilometers and 22 samples: 7 years of Curiosity on Mars – Science

21 kilometers and 22 samples: 7 years of Curiosity on Mars - Science

On August 6, 2012 NASA received the news that the Curiosity robot, Opportunity's successor, had successfully landed on Martian landscapes after six months of space travel.

For a mission that lasted two years, the “little” Curiosity – at only 45 kg and 26 cm in height – managed to exceed expectations by extending its stay on Mars for another five years.

Seven years after its arrival, the Curiosity robot has traveled 21 kilometers along the Martian Gale crater, climbing 358 meters from Mount Sharp, making known to the world landscapes never before seen in the eyes of the earth, similar to the blue sunset. in Planet.

However, the Martian landscapes were not the only discovery of the curious robot. During its seven years of exploration it collected 22 samples, the most recent being collected in May, according to the US Space Agency. In an unprecedented discovery, the samples taken from the “Aberlady” and “Kilmarie” cliffs show the highest levels of clay ever encountered during the mission.

Equipped with high-precision instruments that allow you to analyze not only the soil but also the planet's atmosphere, Curiosity has made known the existence of possible signs of life on Mars. In 2013, the robot found evidence of a freshwater lake that once existed in the crater where it landed, as well as chemical elements essential to the presence of microbial life.

However, research from the Curiosity robot indicates that human exploration of the planet is not yet possible. According to the results obtained by the US space agency, the radiation levels recorded present serious risks to human health, increasing the chances of developing fatal cancers.

According to NASA, the Curiosity mission is still far from over. The robot has seven more years to live, already part of the Mars 2020 research mission. Until then, you can follow the paths already explored by Curiosity and learn more about Mars on the Access Mars website.

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