NASA’S Curiosity Mars rover celebrated its eighth anniversary on the Red Planet this week.
The $2.5billion (£1.9billion) machine has taken some stunning photos during its stay on the dusty world, including the first ever selfie on Mars.
Curiosity’s mission is to find out whether the planet ever was, or is, habitable to microbial life.
About the size of a MINI Cooper, the rover is loaded with 17 cameras and a robotic arm containing a suite of specialised scientific instruments.
During its eight years (and counting) on Mars, Curiosity has photographed hills and craters that once flowed with Martian rivers and lakes.
It has also captured the highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface, giving space fans their most complete view yet of the planet.
Following from Wednesday’s anniversary, here are some of the best images the rover has beamed back to Earth.
Sunset on Mars
King of the hill
Rock and roll
I see you
Water way to go
Here’s what you need to know about the Red Planet…
- Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
- It is named after the Roman god of war
- The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth but due to the difference in gravity you could jump three times higher there than you can here
- Mars is mountainous and hosts the tallest mountain known in the Solar System called Olympus Mons, which is three times higher than Everest
- Mars is considered to be the second most habitable planet after Earth
- It takes the planet 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
- So far, there has been 39 missions to Mars but only 16 of these have been successful
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Billionaire SpaceX boss Elon Musk announced last month that his firm’s mission to get man on Mars is now its “top priority”.
And, Nasa has revealed the design of a moon lander that could be taking astronauts back to the lunar surface by 2024.
Which Curiosity photo is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!
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