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Questions regarding the Curiosity rover launched by NASA for the purpose of Mars exploration.

Curiosity is the name of a rover that NASA launched to Mars on November 26, 2011 as part of its Mars Science Laboratory mission. It runs on nuclear power and has an expected lifespan of about fourteen years. Its original mission was planned for two years, but has been extended indefinitely.

Curiosity's mission objectives include the following:

  • Determine the nature and inventory of organic carbon compounds

  • Inventory the chemical building blocks of life (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur)

  • Identify features that may represent the effects of biological processes

  • Investigate the chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the martian surface and near-surface geological materials

  • Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils

  • Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) atmospheric evolution processes

  • Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide

  • Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic cosmic radiation, solar proton events, and secondary neutrons

Additional Resources:

Mars Science Laboratory - NASA

Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Fact Sheet - NASA

Curiosity - Wikipedia

Mars Science Laboratory - Wikipedia