Saturday, November 26, 2011

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Launched with New Curiosity Rover


NASA has launched its next Mars rover, kicking off a long-awaited mission to investigate whether the Red Planet could ever have hosted microbial life. The car-size Curiosity rover blasted off atop its Atlas 5 rocket at 10:02 a.m. ET Saturday, streaking into a cloudy sky above Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here. The huge robot's next stop is Mars, though the 354-million-mile (570-million-kilometer) journey will take eight and a half months.

Joy Crisp a deputy project scientist for the rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., called the liftoff "spectacular." "This feels great," she said as she watched the rocket lift off from Cape Canaveral.


NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Homepage
Signal Acquired: Mars Science Laboratory Makes First Contact
Sat, 26 Nov 2011 11:00:43 AM EST

A signal from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, including the new Curiosity rover, has been received by officials on the ground. The spacecraft is flying free and headed for Mars after separation from the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that started it on its journey to the Red Planet. Liftoff was on time at 10:02 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Video: MSL Launch

Video: MSL Separation & Heading Toward Mars


You can even follow the Mars Curiosity Rover on Twitter - @MarsCuriosity

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