The Mars rover “Curiosity” is a galactic star of the Internet | News from around the world

“Curiosity” is very modest on Twitter: the team there describes the robot as a “NASA friendly neighborhood rover on Mars” – the more than 4.3 million fans on the social platform alone give a idea that “Curiosity” is much more.

The rover which landed ten years ago on Saturday August 6 inspired researchers and fans around the world with its scientific explorations of the Red Planet, polished NASA’s image – and laid the foundation for the future development of exploring Mars.

“Curiosity” (curiosity) has long since achieved the objectives of the mission originally set by NASA: rolling in the Gale crater on Mars for two years? Do. Proof that life was once possible on the Red Planet? Do. The duration of the mission has just been officially extended by three years, but is already unofficially listed as “as long as possible”. There are still minor issues, including with the wheels, but the rover is “solidly built” and – considering what it’s been through already – in good shape, according to his team.

“Curiosity” on Mars

The fact that the arrival of “Curiosity” on Mars – after six years of development, costs of almost two billion euros, eight months of space flight and a complicated landing maneuver – worked so well, is was ten years ago at the control center in Pasadena, California to cheers, applause and tears of joy. “It feels like the Olympics,” said the director of the control center, Charles Elachi. “And this team just won gold.” Then-US President Barack Obama celebrated the landing as an “unprecedented technological achievement”. “Today the United States made history on Mars.”

Shortly after, the six-wheeled rover, weighing around 900 kilograms and the size of a small car, sent the first coarse-grained images to earth, sparking new storms of excitement. Later, the nuclear-powered rover began rolling, sending increasingly high-resolution photos and deploying its scientific instruments. For example, “Curiosity” can take soil samples and immediately analyze them in its own laboratory. The rover also has several cameras, a laser, a weather station, a survey meter and a hydrogen detection device on board.

Work and performance of “Curiosity”

In the meantime, “Curiosity” has already sent more than 950,000 images to earth – and helped science make many discoveries. At the start of the mission, NASA promised “discoveries beyond our imagination”.

The Rover is – also thanks to a sophisticated and award-winning social media strategy – still popular with the public, but technically already obsolete. In November, the stationary lander “Insight” arrived on Mars, last year the rover “Perseverance” (remaining power), which is a kind of “Curiosity 2.0”. “Perseverance” records sound and video, even has a small helicopter with it, and is supposed to send a sample from Mars to Earth.

The two rovers are not competitors, but complement each other, NASA points out – and recently had “Curiosity” write “Perseverance” via Twitter: “Thank you for joining me in finding new ways to understand our universe. Exploring uncharted territory is a little easier when you know you have a friend sharing the same world.”

Mathew Baynton

"Bacon nerd. Extreme zombie scholar. Hipster-friendly alcohol fanatic. Subtly charming problem solver. Introvert."

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