Nasa has high hopes Mars rover's winning streak will continue
(REUTERS) - The Nasa rover Curiosity survived its daredevil landing on Mars one year ago on Tuesday and went on to discover that the planet most like Earth in the solar system could indeed have supported microbial life, the primary goal of the mission.
"The stunning thing is that we found it all so quickly," California Institute of Technology geologist and lead project scientist John Grotzinger said on Monday during a ceremony at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, marking the rover's first anniversary on Mars.
"If you asked me a year ago, 'What are you going to find in the first year?' I wouldn't have ever said we were going to find what we went looking for," added Curiosity scientist Ken Edgett, with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego.
Now scientists hope to learn whether life-friendly niches on Mars are common and whether any organic carbon has been preserved in the planet's ancient rocks.