Depending on what time zone you're in, today is the first anniversary (or birthday) of Curiosity, NASA's intrepid
little Volkswagen-sized Mars rover. We've got a soft spot for Curiosity, partially because it's one of the most awesome robots ever constructed, but also because we were camped out at JPL to watch her land last year. The picture above is of a TV monitor in the JPL press room, showing the first two images that we got back from the surface of Mars. It was epic.
NASA and JPL are celebrating this week with some cool videos, the last of which has to be one of the most touching tributes to a robot we've ever heard.
You remember how crazy the landing was, right?
I still cannot believe that it worked so flawlessly.
And what has Curiosity been up to for the last year? This video condenses 12 months of images taken in "rover's eye view" down into two minutes:
This final video is just... I don't even know how to describe how incredibly, stupendously incredible and stupendous this is.
All alone, on the surface of Mars, Curiosity is going to play herself happy birthday using a special sequence of vibrations from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. If you were standing next to her on Mars, you'd actually hear it, and then you could sing along and give the robot a big warm hug.
Of course, nobody is there to hear this song. It's just this brave robot all by herself, turning one, very very far away.
We wish her many, many more birthdays, and eventually, we hope that a human in a space suit will bring her a cake, tell her what a good job she did, and then bring her back home.