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Mars Rover Curiosity Beams Back Photos of Mars Surface

Written by on Thursday, August 30th, 2012

There’s almost a poetic balance in the fact that Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, died around the same time that Curiosity touched down on Mars. The world’s most famous astronaut has passed away, but mankind’s insatiable curiosity about the stars and planets continues to live on.

NASA Associate Administrator for Education Leland Melvin said, “I can think of no greater way to honor NASA pioneer Neil Armstrong’s life and legacy than to inspire today’s students to follow his path. That first footprint that Neil placed on the lunar surface left an indelible mark in history. Perhaps one of our students here today or watching on NASA Television will be the first to set foot on the surface of Mars and continue humanity’s quest to explore.”

Curiosity may have touched down on Mars earlier this month, but it wasn’t until recently that it has started to stretch its wheels and explore this alien landscape. It hasn’t even been puttering around the surface of Mars for a week yet and it’s already fundamentally altering our perception of the red planet.

Scientists were surprised to learn that Mars has bizarrely slanted strata, which dips downward at the same angle as the surrounding hills. Here on Earth, that type of strata could only be caused by tectonic, buy antibiotics europe volcanic, aquatic, or wind-driven processes. It’s reasonable believe that similar events must have created these strata – but the big question is which one? Scientists plan to use Curiosity to measure the slope of the strata to get a better idea as to what could have caused it.

Next up on Curiosity’s to do list is to fire up billion-dollar shovel technology and scoop up some alien dirt. Hopefully, these samples will help scientists determine if there ever was (or if there currently is) water on Mars.

Somewhat surprisingly, Curiosity will also have some tunes to listen to as it goes about its work. For the first time in history, mankind transmitted a song from another planet. Curiosity played “Reach for the Stars” by popular musician and science advocate will.i.am. Who knows? Maybe the little green men that science fiction writers have been dreaming about for so long will catch the song on the radio and come take a look.

No matter what the Curiosity discovers, we can be certain that its journey will live on in our history books forever. As NASA administrator Charles Bolden, explained, “This is an extraordinary achievement. Landing a rover on Mars is not easy – others have tried –- only America has fully succeeded.”

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