NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, sealed inside its payload fairing atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, clears the tower at Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The mission lifted off at 10:02 a.m. EST (7:02 a.m. PST), Nov. 26, beginning an eight-month interplanetary cruise to Mars. The spacecraft's components include a car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for signs of life, including methane, and to help determine if this gas is from a biological or geological source.
Image Credit: NASA/Bill White
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