MSL Launches to the Red Planet


SPACE WATCH

MSL Launches to the Red Planet
NASA – The Atlantic Ocean provides a backdrop as the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket clears the tower at Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Sealed inside the rocket’s protective payload fairing is NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft, beginning a 9-month interplanetary cruise to Mars. Liftoff was at 10:02 a.m. EST Nov. 26. MSL’s components include a car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for signs of life, including methane, and help determine if the gas is from a biological or geological source. Image Credit: NASA/Darrell L. McCall

Mars Science Laboratory Inspection
In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians inspect under NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission aeroshell, where the wheels of the rover Curiosity can be seen. MSL’s components include a car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for evidence on whether Mars has had environments favorable to microbial life, including chemical ingredients for life. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release its gases so that the rover’s spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth. Launch of MSL aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is scheduled for Nov. 26 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Image credit: NASA and Glenn Benson

Wheels Installed On Curiosity
Originally taken in July 2010, this photo shows NASA engineers installing six wheels on the Curiosity rover. NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project will launch Curiosity on Friday, Nov. 26. Curiosity is scheduled for arrival at Mars in August 2012. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Administrator Bolden Speaks at MSL Launch
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks to attendees at the Banana Creek viewing area prior to the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

NASA began a historic voyage to Mars with the launch of the car-sized rover which lifted off at 10:02 a.m. EST. The mission will pioneer precision landing technology and a sky-crane touchdown to place Curiosity near the foot of a mountain inside Gale Crater on Aug. 6, 2012. Photo Credit: NASA/Paul E. Alers

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