The Mars Rover Curiosity celebrates its first anniversary on the Red Planet this week.
The rover landed on the Martian surface on August 6, 2012 and has been sending back breathtaking images of the planet and data ever since.
The 4×4 vehicle weights in at just over a ton and has been cruising the surface of Mars for the past year, sending back a wealth of data that could be essential if and when humanity makes a trip the the Red Planet.
“Successes of our Curiosity — that dramatic touchdown a year ago and the science findings since then — advance us toward further exploration, including sending humans to an asteroid and Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Wheel tracks now will lead to boot prints later.”
Since Curiosity touched down, 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.
Space.com has compiled a two-minute time-lapse video of some of those images from the past year. You definitely want to check it out.