NASA's Mars rover Curiosity will celebrate its one-year anniversary on the Red Planet next week, and to celebrate the occasion, the space agency released a two-minute time-lapse video of the robot's first year of exploration.
The new Curiosity rover video draws on 548 fish-eye images from the rover's front Hazard-Avoidance Camera taken between August 2012 and July 2013. NASA released the clip without a soundtrack, and we added music (including the "Day of the Dog" by Matt Haick and "Sin on Stage" by William Werwath).
Since Curiosity touched down on Aug. 5, 2012 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT), it has returned tens of thousands of images and drilled samples of Martian rocks that helped researchers determine that the planet could have supported microbial life in its ancient past.
Though the SUV-sized robot has made big discoveries, it has been moving at a creeping pace. Curiosity's top speed across flat ground is just 0.09 mph (0.14 km/h), and the rover's odometer only recently passed the 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) mark of total driving distance.
But in the year ahead, the Curiosity rover is kicking into high gear. It recently set off for the longest road trip of its mission yet: a 5-mile (8 km) drive to Mount Sharp, the central mountain of the robot's landing site. In exploring the foothills of Mount Sharp, scientists hope Curiosity will uncover more evidence of how the Red Planet's past environment changed and evolved.