Hello, Petra Stone here with news about the Mars Science Laboratory, better known as Curiosity or the MSL. Today, this new rover finally launches on its journey to Mars.
Image from NASA
It’s been over eight years now since the last Mars rover launch, Opportunity’s in 2003. Now, Curiosity will set off on a mission to determine if life could have ever arisen on Mars, characterize the climate of Mars, characterize the geology of Mars, and prepare for human exploration. Those are the four main goals, but this newest and largest rover has eight more specific scientific objectives. There’s a lot in store for the MSL!
JPL cleanroom where Curiosity was built. Image credit Zoe Bentley.
Curiosity’s equipment ROCKS! It’s taking a drill, several cameras for steering and gathering data, a robotic arm, and even a tool called SAM with a laser in it which vaporizes rocks. No, I’m not kidding. The MSL is also powered by plutonium. This means dust buildups won’t keep Curiosity from getting the energy to explore. Even the way it lands is pretty cool. I can’t wait until Curiosity reaches Gale Crater in August next year.
Curiosity is scheduled to launch today at 10:02 EST from Cape Canaveral on board an Atlas V rocket. I can’t wait for this ROCKIN’ rover to get on its way!
Check out these webpages to learn more about Curiosity:
The Mars Science Laboratory’s website
NASA’s MSL Mission Page
Watch Curiosity Launch Live!