Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology JPL HOME EARTH SOLAR SYSTEM STARS & GALAXIES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY BRING THE UNIVERSE TO YOU JPL Email News RSS Mobile Video
JPL Banner
Mars Science Laboratory
Home
MULTIMEDIA

Images

Image Gallery


read the article 'Ribbon Cutting'
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
read the article 'Erisa Hines'
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
read the article 'Buzz Aldrin'
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
read the article 'Women in Science'
02.12.2016 Women in Science
read the article 'Chemical Laptop 1'
11.17.2015 Chemical Laptop 1
Enclosed in the protective mesh container known as the "gorilla cage," the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is lifted up the side of the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41.
11.17.2011

Lifting the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Enclosed in the protective mesh container known as the "gorilla cage," the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is lifted up the side of the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41. The MMRTG will be installed on the MSL spacecraft, encapsulated within the payload fairing. The MMRTG will generate the power needed for the mission from the natural decay of plutonium-238, a non-weapons-grade form of the radioisotope. Heat emitted by this natural decay will provide constant power through the day and night during all seasons. 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. Heat emitted by the MMRTG will be circulated throughout the rover system to keep instruments, computers, mechanical devices and communications systems within their operating temperature ranges. Launch of MSL aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is targeted for Nov. 25 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

More information about Curiosity is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/msl or http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

Image Credit: NASA


All Images
USA.gov
PRIVACY     FAQ     SITEMAP     FEEDBACK     IMAGE POLICY