Nasa’s Curiosity rover celebrates its 10th — but hardly last — birthday on Mars

On Friday, ’s will celebrate its tenth birthday on , and counting. The small car-sized made a soft landing at the bottom of Gale on the evening of 5 August, with a mission to find evidence of past habitability on the Red Planet.

A decade later, Nasa can call Curiosity’s mission a resounding success. It established the long term presence of liquid water on the surface of Mars in the planet’s ancient past, a prerequisite for the existence of life. It also established with certainty the that are the building blocks of potential life.

And moreover, Curiosity’s is a mission that’s still ongoing, with the plucky rover still climbing a mountain of sedimentary rock in what was once an ancient lakebed on Mars.

“About the state of the rover, overall, we’re just thrilled,” Ashwin Vasavada, project scientist for the Curiosity mission, told The Independent. “The rover is still able to do all the science that matters to the mission, even 10 years in.”