NASA's Curiosity Rover Celebrates 1 Year on Mars

The surface of Mars is shown from above, with NASA's Curiosity visible in the lower right corner (blue dot).

The surface of Mars is shown from above, with NASA's Curiosity visible in the lower right corner (blue dot).

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Curiosity rover is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Mars.

The six-wheel NASA rover touched down in an ancient crater near the Martian equator exactly a year ago to much fanfare. Since it was so massive, engineers had to invent a new landing routine and used cables to set it down on the surface.

Despite a slow start, Curiosity has achieved one of its main goals by finding evidence of a past environment that could have supported microbes.

[READ: Curiosity Rover Finds Evidence of Ancient Stream on Mars]

Now it's driving to Mount Sharp, a mountain that rises from the crater floor. The journey will last many months. Once at the base, Curiosity will try to find signs of the chemical building blocks of life.

Curiosity's landing was so successful that NASA said it plans an encore in 2021.

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