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Published on Aug 6, 2012
For centuries, the possibility of life on Mars has sparked curiosity from observers on Earth. And in the early hours of August 6, 2012, humanity's latest effort to explore the Red Planet--the Curiosity Rover--safely touched down on the rocky landscape in a triumph of ingenuity and technology. While previous space probes and rovers so far have revealed no canals, flying saucers, or little green men, there is evidence that millions of tons of liquid water once flowed on the planet's surface. Today, Mars is cold and dry, but there could still be liquid water underground—raising the intriguing prospect of living organisms below the surface.
Pursuing that possibility is the mission of the aptly named Curiosity rover. An advanced mobile laboratory, Curiosity will not only be searching for evidence of past or present life on the planet but will also be collecting data to help determine the potential for its future habitability. The exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, features a life-size model of the Curiosity rover, as well as a section examining how humans might one day make the journey to Mars in person.
Beyond Planet Earth is on view at the American Museum of Natural History through August 12, 2012.
Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (amnh.org), in collaboration with MadaTech: The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology & Space, Haifa Israel.
Beyond Planet Earth is made possible through the sponsorship of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
And is proudly supported by Con Edison.
Major funding has been provided by The Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund.
Additional support is generously provided by Marshall P. and Rachael C. Levine Drs. Harlan B. and Natasha Levine Mary and David Solomon
Presented with special thanks to NASA.
Images: ESO/G. Bono & CITO NASA Prelinger Archives