- Megan Bingham
Many mysteries have been explained through space exploration, but one remains unanswered: Is there anybody else out there? Let the Curiosity rover guide you through the dusty red planet, while she searches for evidence of other life!
Scientists decided that the best place to look for life was on one of our closest neighboring planets, Mars. Mars is the planet in the solar system that is most similar to Earth. In the past, it may have had the same environment as Earth. Although it is covered in red dust now, there is evidence that lakes, flowing rivers, and even great oceans once existed.
The trip to Mars can be over 350,000,000-miles long. Humans have been able to explore closer to home, but the journey to Mars is currently very difficult for a human to take. That's where the Curiosity and others like her come in! NASA came up with the design of rovers, which move over rough terrain to collect data and samples, as well as take photos scientists had never seen before.
By 2007, 39 missions to Mars had been launched but, over half of them ended in failure. Then, plans for the Curiosity were created, but years of testing were required to make sure everything worked correctly the first time she was sent to Mars. Finally, she was ready to be launched. The Atlas V, an expendable launch rocket which can only be used once, sent the Curiosity into space on November 26, 2011, when Earth and Mars were relatively close to each other. That way, the Curiosity could use less fuel! 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... she's had a successful take-off!
After 253 days hurtling through space, the Curiosity finally reached Mars traveling 13,000 miles per hour. But, of course, her landing would be nerve-racking—so nerve-racking that NASA nicknamed the landing "Seven Minutes of Terror." Luckily, with few complications, she made it! "Touchdown confirmed. We're safe on Mars!" Since 2012, the Curiosity has been exploring Mars. With space exploration, questions can be just as exciting as answers. What was Mars like long ago? How suitable was it for life? Does it support any life-forms now? Where will our curiosity take us next?
Markus Motum's Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover is an excellent story of the joys and discoveries of space exploration. With beautiful illustrations and a detailed storyline, any student learning about space can embrace this marvelous journey. Motum's one-of-a-kind pictures and diagrams enhance the experience, showing and telling the reader how the Curiosity got her name and the tools she carries to fulfill her mission. The book even has a large timeline of the other Mars rovers' journeys, stretching back to 1964 when the first was launched, as well as a glossary of words. Check out this special book and learn about why space exploration is important to our society! The YouTube video below shows a five-year time-lapse of Curiosity's Martian photos.