CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The payload fairing containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft arrives at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The fairing, which protects the payload during ascent, will be lifted and mated to the Atlas V rocket already in place at the launch pad. The spacecraft was prepared for launch in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. MSL's components include a compact car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for evidence on whether Mars has had environments favorable to microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release its gasses so that the rover's spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth. Launch of MSL aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is planned 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/Kim Shiflett
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