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Curiosity: 10 years on Mars and so many perilous adventures!

He has been surveying the Martian soil for 10 years now, looking for biosignatures that would clarify the question: was there, yes or no, life on Mars? Curiosity has traveled more than 28 kilometers and revolutionized our knowledge of the Red Planet, but it almost passed through it several times! Back on the adventures experienced by this little rover.

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[EN VIDÉO] Curiosity: the film of the descent to Martian soil
Filmed by the Mardi camera (Mars Descent Imager) at 4 frames/s, the descent (2.5 min) of Curiosity into the atmosphere of Mars, from the separation of the heat shield to touchdown.

If it has revolutionized our knowledge of Mars’ past, the little Curiosity rover, in exploration since August 6, 2012, suffered some damage on its way. But what were they? Barely a year after the start of his journey, a first fear is felt: Curiosity indicates a loss of energy. NASA researchers then try to elucidate the problem, then relaunch it after a week, and finally everything is fine!

From December 2013, the Martian terrain strewn with pebbles and therefore particularly rough almost got the better of the Curiosity wheels ! These have deteriorated at too fast a rate according to the scientists responsible for its design, but that does not prevent the rover from continuing its mission ofmartian exploration ! So much so that in 2017, its wheels have many impacts, in particular because of rocks called “to back ofalligator “, particularly dangerous. The researchers then integrated a new algorithm into the rover, which allows it to adapt its speed to the terrain.

Curiosity has encountered memory issues

But the most worrying was not at the level of the wheels of this rover, but rather in its internal system. Indeed, no live repairs possible, everything is done remotely, so that if a failure prevents any communication between Earth and Mars, the mission is jeopardized. Thus, in 2018, when Curiosity has encountered memory issues in his central uniteverything was settled very quickly in order to avoid extensive damage, and all data was transferred to the “second brain ” from robot !

Other failures occurred during the rover’s 10-year exploration, including some unexplained like in 2019 when it restarted in safe mode without Nasa researchers knowing why. But that does not prevent him from continuing his mission today, whereas it was initially planned to last only one Martian year, or 687 days!

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