Mars Rover Curiosity Looks Back on 1,000 Sols on the Red Planet

NASA/JPL/Ken Kremer/Marco Do Lorenzo

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By Devin Coldewey

Mars rover Curiosity has completed its 1,000th sol, or Martian day, leaving behind miles of tracks in the dust and a heck of a lot of science done. It's been nearly three years since the nail-biter of a landing on the Martian surface in August of 2012, and the rover has had its share of problems since then, but after 1,000 sunrises, Curiosity is still curious to see the next one.

Related: Two Years on Mars: Here's What's Next for NASA's Curiosity Rover

The 1,000-sol mark was reached on Friday. This picture above, taken by Curiosity's Navcam on Sol 997, has the rover looking back (with pride, one assumes) at its tracks and, somewhere about five miles back, its landing site. Along the way, Curiosity has found and measured all manner of interesting surface features, like fluctuating methane levels, cool-looking rocks (or dinosaur skulls, if you prefer) and ancient lakes. And of course it has had plenty of time to take loads of selfies (it has a built-in selfie stick, after all).

A thousand sols (about 1,027 Earth days) is a long time, but if the long-lived Opportunity rover is any indication, this could be just the beginning of this Curiosity's life on Mars.