Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- At the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians, using an overhead crane, separate the two components of the aeroshell, an element of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), after testing. The aeroshell consists of the spacecraft's heat shield and the backshell which carries the parachute and several components used during later stages of entry, descent and landing. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V-541 configuration will be used to loft MSL into space. The Curiosity rover and Atlas V are expected to arrive this summer. 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 Nov. 25 at 10:21 a.m. EST. For more information visit: www.nasa.gov/msl.
Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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