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Watch five years of the Curiosity rover’s travels in a five minute time-lapse

Published Aug 8th, 2017 5:27PM EDT
curiosity mars
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

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NASA’s Curiosity rover just celebrated its five year anniversary on Mars, which is one mighty impressive milestone for a vehicle whose primary mission was initially slated for just 687 days. In honor of this momentous occasion, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory put together a fantastic video time-lapse of Curiosity’s travels, complete with five years worth of camera footage from one of the vehicle’s many built-in cameras crammed into roughly five minutes of video.

Along with the camera feed — which was pulled from one of Curiosity’s hazard avoidance cameras — the video also shows a handy map of the Mars landscape to give you a rough idea of the rover’s path. The Earth date of each photo capture as well as the Martian sol count is also displayed in the upper right. With such a small map, it might not seem like much of a trip, but the rover has already tallied ten miles of travel.

The research Curiosity has carried out has been invaluable to NASA and researchers around the world, and it’s extremely interesting to see the rover’s entire journey wrapped up so succinctly in a single video. That being said, the monochrome video footage and unending stream of dust, dirt, and rock leaves a little something to be desired.

NASA’s next rover, which is currently targeting a July 2020 launch date, is expected to be a lot like Curiosity in overall design and instrumentation. That mission, if it indeed goes forward as planned, is expected to explore a completely different area of Mars, though the final landing site has yet to be decided upon.