It has been on the red planet for almost 12 months. What has it done so far? Take a look:
Even with Curiosity there, there is still a lot to learn, and for that reason, NASA is sending another explorer, MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission), which, instead of crawling along the surface, will be examining all aspects of Mars Climate History. From the LASP MAVEN website out of Boulder, CO:
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), set to launch in 2013, will explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of volatile compounds, such as CO2, N2, and H2O, from the Mars atmosphere to space has played over time, giving insight into the history of Mars atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability.
MAVEN currently finished testing its solar panels and is awaiting its move from CO to FL for launch in November 2013.
At the end of August, I will join a group of other new media specialists and journalists for a few days in Boulder, CO at Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) campus to learn more about some of the instruments that will be conducting the testing that will give us a better handle on "Where did Mars' atmosphere and water go?