NASA’s Curiosity rover has rolled into orbit around Mars on Thursday, with the first of several months of its two-year mission ending in a triumph that defied expectations.
The rover arrived at Mars on Wednesday, having spent more than seven years orbiting the Red Planet and collecting data that will help scientists better understand the ancient surface of the Red Sea.
After nearly six months of operation, the $2.7 billion Mars Science Laboratory, or MSSL, will return to Earth on Thursday to begin its second year on the Red planet.
Its mission is the largest and most ambitious of NASA’s Mars exploration program, which has led to some of the biggest discoveries on the planet.
It will study a rocky world where water was once liquid and habitable, and will learn about ancient Martian conditions.
It will also test its capabilities for drilling and sending samples back to Earth.
Mars Science Laboratory scientists are now taking measurements of the Martian atmosphere, and they will use the instruments in the next month to learn more about the planet’s water cycle.
The rover will continue to collect data until its planned arrival at the end of 2020.
Ahead of the arrival, NASA announced a grand tour of the space station and the first images from the orbiting lab, dubbed Curiosity, which will provide a glimpse into a distant future.
It also announced a $50 million reward for anyone who can provide information about the Martian environment.
It is a big day for the space agency.
NASA’s last Mars rover, Opportunity, is gone and the agency is preparing to begin work on the next mission.
Its main goal is to return the rovers rover to Mars.
Curiosity, the first spacecraft to land on the surface of another planet, is now more than four months away from its mission.
It is the first rover to be sent into space on a mission to Mars, which was originally planned for 2020.NASA and its contractors are using the rover to test the science of ancient environments, like the ancient Red Sea, that were once habitable.
It also hopes to understand the chemistry and history of the planet, including whether Mars ever had liquid water and how it formed and became a world.
The mission will also include a series of experiments that will measure the amount of heat and pressure that existed during a planet’s early days.