What have we sent to the hottest planet in the Solar System?
On 6 August 2012 the world watched in awe as a rover the size of a car descended to the surface of Mars under a rocket-powered contraption and touched down on the ground. Almost a decade in the making the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), better known as the Curiosity rover, has been a massive success story for NASA. Never before has such a large and complicated vehicle landed on another world. Our timeline below shows you just what the rover has been up to on the Red Planet.
In the 12 months Curiosity has been operational it has been making some tentative steps towards achieving its numerous goals, which include assessing Mars for signs of past and present habitability. NASA has been careful to only take baby steps so far, but in the next year Curiosity will be pushed to the limits as it explores its surroundings and heads towards its ultimate goal, Mount Sharp (a mountain also known as Aeolis Mons), which rises 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) above the floor of Gale crater and has layers of sediments that may hold clues revealing the history of Mars.
Images and media courtesy of NASA
An interactive timeline of Curiosity’s first year on Mars
12 months on from one of the most ambitious landings ever attempted, we take a look back at what NASA’s rover has been up to on the Red Planet.