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The Curiosity Rover Just Turned One Martian Year Old

Mars years are longer than Earth years

smithsonian.com

The plucky little Curiosity rover that's been rolling around Mars' gale crater, finding signs of ancient water and snapping photos, is marking the end of its first year on the red planet today. It feels like only yesterday that Curiosity rode its daring rocket-parachute-sky crane contraption down to the surface. But it wasn't yesterday, it was August 5, 2012.

Think that math doesn't add up? Let space writer Jason Major and his Lights in the Dark blog explain:

Wait, you say, didn’t Curiosity land on Mars in August of 2012? Shouldn’t we still be approaching the TWO-year anniversary of the MSL mission? Well, yes, here on Earth, but on Mars a year is 1.8808 Earth-years long — that’s 686.9 Earth days to a single Martian year! So from landing day August 5 (August 6 UTC) 2012, 686.9 days Earth days (i.e., one Martian year) later is June 24, 2014.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has put together a highlight reel of what Curiosity has been up to over the past year. Just imagine all the things you could do in a year if you could make it nearly twice as long?

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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