The Curiosity rover has been rolling across Mars’ surface for two years now, stopping regularly to analyze samples of Martian rocks and conduct other experiments. But the whole time it has been traveling toward its primary goal: Mount Sharp, a huge mountain that could explain what happened in the earliest days of the planet’s atmosphere. Curiosity has now arrived at the mountain and will begin inspecting its lower slopes.
Before NASA tries new tasks with the Curiosity rover, it tests them on Earth with a replica rover at the Jet Propulsion Lab. Mission manager Rick Welch explains a few of the challenges that await his team on Mars.
The sparse amount of methane found on the planet’s surface keeps getting sparser, but future methane-finding missions will go ahead anyway.