Curiosity is a car-sized Mars rover designed to explore the Gale crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral (CCAFS) on November 26, 2011, at 15:02:00 UTC and landed on Aeolis Palus inside Gale crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17:57 UTC.
The Bradbury Landing site was less than 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the center of the rover’s touchdown target after a 560 million km (350 million mi) journey.
Mission goals include an investigation of the Martian climate and geology, assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life (including investigation of the role of water), and planetary habitability studies in preparation for human exploration.
In December 2012, Curiosity’s two-year mission was extended indefinitely, and on August 5, 2017, NASA celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing. On August 6, 2022, a detailed overview of accomplishments by the Curiosity rover for the last ten years was reported. The rover is still operational, and as of 10 July 2023, Curiosity has been active on Mars for 3884 sols (3990 total days; 10 years, 338 days) since its landing.
The NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team was awarded the 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy by the National Aeronautic Association “In recognition of the extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation’s technological and engineering capabilities, and significantly improving humanity’s understanding of ancient Martian habitable environments.” Curiosity’s rover design serves as the basis for NASA’s 2021 Perseverance mission, which carries different scientific instruments.
Manufacturer: Jet Propulsion Laboratory