Random Space Fact: 3000 Sols for Curiosity

Jan 29, 2021 | Curiosity, Daily Space, Mars, Random Space Fact, Rovers/Landers

Random Space Fact: 3000 Sols for Curiosity
IMAGE: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of the sun setting at the close of the mission’s 956th Martian day, or sol (April 15, 2015), from the rover’s location in Gale Crater. This was the first sunset observed in color by Curiosity. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M Univ.

Your random space fact for the week: sol 3000 for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover occurred on Mars at about 17:13 PST on January 12, 2021. A sol is a Martian day, equivalent to 24 hours 39 minutes and 35.224 seconds.

A lot of the Martian mission handlers have watches that show Martian time, and during particularly exciting parts of the mission, they will live on Martian time. This is awesome in one aspect: you get an extra 39 minutes and 35.224 seconds every day.

It is also awful because you are moving in and out of sync with everyone else in the world, which is harder than you might think.

But Mars watches, people. There are scientists with Mars watches who live on Mars time so they can more effectively talk to their spacecraft, and that is awesome.

And Curiosity has lived 3000 sols.

It still has a ways to go be the longest-lived rover, however. That record goes to the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, that explored for 5,352 sols before its signal was lost in 2018 after a sunlight-blocking global dust storm.

More Information

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory press release


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