Aug. 2, 2013— -- They may not use the same time lapse techniques that the nature documentary Planet Earth used, but the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California can still produce a pretty compelling movie. Yesterday, JPL uploaded a video that shows what the past year has been like for the Curiosity rover.
Granted, "compelling" doesn't mean the same thing as action-packed. Watching a black and white video of dirt being drilled and analyzed isn't something that glues viewers to the edge of their seats. It's about as exciting as Thomas Edison's earliest kinetoscopes, like that one that filmed a man sneezing.
Then again, there's something about how ordinary the video looks that makes it interesting. Curiosity is slowly traveling towards the planet's own Mount Sharpe, yet the landscape looks like many of the deserts on Earth. It's rocky, barren, and bathed in a bright and expansive sky.
It may look like Earth, but it's certainly not the same as Earth. Just a couple of weeks ago, NASA and JPL scientists published the first data obtained from Curiosity's soil and air samples, confirming that Mars has been slowly losing its atmosphere.
In preparation for the one year anniversary of Curiosity's landing on Mars, JPL is encouraging social media users to share their memories and thoughts with the hashtag #1YearOnMars. Though it hasn't made the top trending topics yet, the hashtag is going strong on Twitter and picking up steam on Facebook.