Finding methan is an important mission for Curiosity, since the source could be biological (e.g microbes), but also non biological (e.g. comets, degradation of interplanetary dust particles by ultraviolet light, and interaction between water and rock). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, SAM/GSFC.

A NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover team member gives an update on developments and status of the planetary exploration mission. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft delivered Curiosity to its target area on Mars on Aug. 6, which includes the 13.8 minutes needed for confirmation of the touchdown to be radioed to Earth at the speed of light. The rover will conduct a nearly two-year prime mission to investigate whether the Gale Crater region of Mars ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.