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Curiosity Rover's 'Twelve Months in Two Minutes' Video Shows a Year of Life on Mars

Aug 02, 2013 05:02 PM EDT

On Aug. 6 the Mars Curiosity rover will mark its first full year on the Red Planet, and to give the public an idea of what the rover's day-to-day has been like, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has released a time lapse video of footage taken from a fisheye lens on the underside of Curiosity's chassis.

The video, titled "Twelve Months in Two Minutes," is a series of 548 images taken from the Curiosity's hazard-avoidance camera. While not exactly the most exciting footage, there is something compelling about just how ordinary it all seems - the rover drilling for soil samples as the Sun rises and sets, the weird angles cast by the rover's shadow on the ground.

In the past year the car-sized rover has done a lot to captivate the public's imagination - from its dramatic parachute-landing on Mars to its witty status updates on Twitter and revealing images of the Martian landscape, Curiosity has garnered a large following.

NASA and JPL are not unaware of the public's curiosity about Curiosity, which to-date has rolled across one mile of Martian terrain, gathered more than 190 gigabytes of data, and beamed 70,000 images back to Earth.

Among Curiosity's finding are signs of ancient stream flow and evidence of a past environment well-suited to support microbial life, which was the primary science goal of the mission.

"We now know Mars offered favorable conditions for microbial life billions of years ago," said John Grotzinger, the mission's project scientist, said in a statement.

"It has been gratifying to succeed, but that has also whetted our appetites to learn more. We hope those enticing layers at Mount Sharp will preserve a broad diversity of other environmental conditions that could have affected habitability."

On the morning of Aug. 6 NASA Television and the agency's website will air the Curiosity team members' remembrances about the landing night and the overall mission, followed by an event featuring NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station as they observe the rover anniversary and discuss how its activities and other robotic projects are helping prepare for a human mission to Mars and an asteroid.

The first broadcast will air from 7:45 to 9 a.m. PDT (10:45 a.m. to noon EDT) on Tuesday, Aug. 6. The second will immediately follow that program, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (noon to 1:30 p.m.)

Social media followers may submit questions on Twitter and Google+ in advance and during the event using the hashtag #askNASA.

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