NASA launches Mars rover Curiosity

Weather permitting, this Saturday NASA will launch the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) – a rover named “Curiosity” – with the aim of determining if Mars ever had, or still has today, an environment that could sustain microbial life.  Curiosity is planned to liftoff on Saturday 26 November (at 10:02 a.m. ET) aboard an Atlas V rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida for an  8 month trip to Mars.

Curiosity

The Mars Curiosity rover (credit Swinburne University)

To help determine the habitability of Mars, there are four main science goals of Curiosity: (1) to determine whether life ever arose on Mars, (2) to characterise the Martian climate, (3) to characterise the Martian geology, and (4) to prepare for human exploration.  To achieve these goals there are a set of scientific objective for the mission which will include a number of biological, geological, geochemical, atmospheric, and surface radiation measurements. Curiosity carries 11 instruments (living up to its name Mars Science Laboratory!), which include 3 cameras, 4 spectrometers, 2 radiation detectors, and an environmental and an atmospheric sensor.  The total weight of Curiosity is about 900 kg, and it is the size of a small SUV, measuring about 10 x 9 x 7 foot.

Good luck Curiosity!

For more details, see

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to NASA launches Mars rover Curiosity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s