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In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians process the heat shield for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).
07.15.2011

Processing the Heat Shield

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians process the heat shield for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The spacecraft's heat shield, when joined with the backshell which carries the parachute and several components used during later stages of entry, descent and landing, is called an aeroshell. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V-541 configuration will be used to loft MSL into space. Curiosity's 10 science instruments will search for habitable environments on Mars that could support life, past or present. The unique rover will carry a laser to look inside rocks and release the gasses so that its spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth, as well as sophisticated chemistry experiments and high-powered microscopes. MSL is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Nov. 25. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/msl.

Image Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

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