Despite signs of wear, the intrepid spacecraft is about to start an exciting new chapter of its mission as it climbs a Martian mountain.

A decade prior today, a jetpack brought down NASA's Curiosity meanderer onto the Red Planet, starting the SUV-size pioneer's quest for proof that, billions of years prior, Mars had the circumstances expected to support microscopic life.

Since then, Curiosity has driven nearly 18 miles (29 kilometers) and ascended 2,050 feet (625 meters) as it explores Gale Crater and the foothills of Mount Sharp within it.

The rover has analyzed 41 rock and soil samples, relying on a suite of science instruments to learn what they reveal about Earth's rocky sibling.

What's more, it's pushed a team of engineers to devise ways of limiting mileage and keep the meanderer rolling

As a matter of fact, Curiosity's mission was recently extended for another three years, allowing it to continue among NASA's fleet of important astrobiological missions.

Curiosity has studied concentrated on the Red Planet's skies, catching pictures of sparkling mists and floating moons.

The meanderer's radiation sensor allows researchers to gauge how much high-energy radiation future space explorers would be presented to on the Martian surface, assisting NASA with sorting out some way to guard them.

Curiosity has determined that liquid water as well as the chemical building blocks and nutrients needed for supporting life were present for at least tens of millions of years in Gale Crater.

Curiosity has made remarkable progress up the mountain. Back in 2015, the team captured a "postcard" image of distant buttes. A mere speck within that image is a Curiosity-size boulder nicknamed "Ilha Novo Destino"

Nearly seven years later, the rover trundled by it last month on the way to the sulfate-bearing region.

More recently, a set of braking mechanisms that allow the robotic arm to move or stay in place stopped working.

Curiosity relies on a long-lived nuclear-powered battery rather than solar panels to keep on rolling. As the plutonium pellets in the battery decay, they generate heat that the rover converts into power.

Through careful planning and engineering hacks, the team has every expectation the plucky rover still has years of exploring to ahead of it.