Nov 9, 2023, 09:41 AM IST
As NASA's Curiosity Rover achieves the historic milestone of spending 4,000 days on Mars 'conducting exciting science' on the red planet, here are 7 things to know about it.
The Curiosity rover was launched on 26 November 2011 and landed on Mars on 6 August 2012.
As NASA puts it, Curiosity's landing was "seven minutes of terror". The rover had to slow down from about 13,000 MPH (21,000 KPH) to a full stop in just seven minutes — a challenging task achieved, thanks to the team of engineers behind it.
When it landed, the Curiosity rover was the largest and most advanced rover ever sent to Mars. It also carried the biggest and most advanced instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the Martian surface.
While you can't control how the rover moves on the red planet, you can virtually take it for a spin using NASA's Experience Curiosity app.
During its 4,000-plus days or 11-year-long journey, the rover has driven almost 20 miles (32 kilometres) through Mars' "punishingly cold environment bathed in dust and radiation".
The rover has sent back some mesmerising pictures of the hauntingly beautiful Mars surface.
Thanks to the Curiosity rover, we now know that Mars was once a planet of rivers. Scientists deduced this after analysing a combination of images from the rover, scans of sedimentary rocks beneath the Gulf of Mexico on Earth and several computer simulations.