NASA's Curiosity rover completes first year on Mars

Tuesday - 8/6/2013, 5:57pm EDT

Dr. James Green, director of planetary sciences, NASA

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Curiosity touched down on Mars one year ago. The mission has been a great success for NASA, but the fun is just starting.

"Curiosity ended up landing in what we think is an ancient riverbed," Dr. James Green, NASA's director of planetary sciences told Federal News Radio's Lauren Larson. "There's plenty of clues and signs all around that water flowed in this area for thousands, if not millions, of years. It rounded pebbles it created conglomerates. It looks just like dried up riverbeds here in the United States."

These discoveries point to Mars at one time being a blue planet similar to Earth, with flowing water, an extensive atmosphere and an ability to support life.

NASA headquarters is marking the anniversary by reviewing the highlights of Curiosity's scientific discoveries and looking ahead to when human beings may one day colonize the red planet.

"Curiosity is a huge step towards actually having humans on Mars," Green said. "Curiosity, by being in its location, is interrogating the past of Mars. But it's also making measurements of what Mars is like today. ... These huge steps enable us to plan for future humans actually landing and living on Mars, in 20, perhaps in 30 years."