NASA’s Curiosity rover clicked a selfie: Check it out
As Perseverance closes in on Mars, Curiosity is still up and about doing its job, collecting samples, clicking selfies.
Everyone is waiting for NASA’s 2020 mission which is going to bring the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter to Mars. The new instruments and their abilities, as BGR writes, will be crucial in revealing new details about the Red Planet. However, while we wait for this, there is already a rover in Mars that has been cruising around for the last eight years.
Nuclear-powered rover Curiosity that landed on Mars in 2012 is still up and about and is currently investigating a new site on the planet, collecting samples etc. Curiosity handlers back down in NASA decided to take a little break and made the robot take a stunning selfie.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) explained in a blog that Curiosity is currency around an area in Mars known as Mary Anning. The rover has been investigating that area since July this year and has been using its drill to get some rock samples that it has been analysing and sending the data down to Earth.
The rover has already sent through a lot of data and and the team at JPL is already planning Curiosity’s next move as they sift through the data.
“It will take months for the team to interpret the chemistry and minerals in the samples from the Mary Anning site. In the meantime, the scientists and engineers who have been commanding the rover from their homes as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic have directed Curiosity to continue its climb of Mount Sharp. The rover’s next target of exploration is a layer of sulfate-laden rock that lies higher up the mountain. The team hopes to reach it in early 2021,” NASA said.
On the other hand, the Perseverance rover is now within 100 days of its expected landing date on Mars. The new rover will be landing a significant distance from Curiosity in the Jezero crater.
The Jezero crater was chosen as Perseverance’s landing spot because “researchers believe it may have once been the site of an ancient lake, and that could mean that the soil and surface material still hold traces of ancient life”.
Perseverance will collect and analyse samples but also prepare them for return to Earth in the years to come. These samples will be secured and sealed and, in a future mission, they will be picked up and shot into orbit where a spacecraft will grab them and take them and get them to Earth.