CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The first three elements for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) arrive at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo plane. The cruise stage, back shell and heat shield, the first flight elements to arrive for the MSL mission, were taken to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) located in the KSC Industrial Area to begin processing. The Curiosity rover will arrive next month. The rover's 10 science instruments will search for habitable environments on Mars that could support life, past or present. The unique rover will use 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 aboard an Atlas V later this year.
Image Credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
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