NASA marks seven years of Mars discoveries
NASA’s Curiosity rover is exploring a mountain on Mars where streams might once have flowed into bubbling lakes. The rover recently drilled rock samples that contained clay minerals formed from water mixed with sediment. As of Tuesday, the $2.5 billion robot has roved the Red Planet for seven years, traveling 13 miles and ascending 1,207 feet up the Martian terrain. Curiosity got its name from 11-year-old Clara Ma, who in 2009 won a nationwide naming contest.
How much longer will Curiosity be on Mars? In December 2012, NASA decided to leave the rover there indefinitely. The vehicle’s nuclear power is degrading, but NASA plans to carefully budget its power supply to make it last as long as possible.
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