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One Year After Launch, Curiosity Rover Busy on Mars
Panoramic View From 'Rocknest' This panorama is a mosaic of images taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on the NASA Mars rover Curiosity while the rover was working at a site called "Rocknest" in October and November 2012. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
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Martian rock called ChemCam's remote micro-imager camera acquired the component images during the 57th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Oct. 3, 2012), from a distance of 12 feet (3.7 meters). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP
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Martian rock called Rocknest 3 is a rock approximately 15 inches (40 centimeters) long and 4 inches (10 centimeters) tall, next to the "Rocknest" patch of windblown dust and sand where Curiosity scooped and analyzed soil samples. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
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PASADENA, Calif. - The NASA Mars rover Curiosity began its flight to Mars on Nov. 26, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., tucked inside the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft. One year after launch and 16 weeks since its dramatic landing on target inside Gale Crater, Curiosity has returned more than 23,000 raw images, driven 1,696 feet (517 meters) and begun helping researchers better understand the area's environmental history.

The car-size rover is at a site called "Point Lake" overlooking lower ground to the east, where the rover team intends to find a target for first use of Curiosity's rock-sampling drill.

During a two-year prime mission, researchers are using Curiosity's 10 science instruments to assess whether the study area in Gale Crater ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.