CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Standing atop a payload transporter, the Atlas V rocket payload fairing containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft rolls out of the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, beginning the move to Space Launch Complex 41. The fairing will protect the payload from heat and aerodynamic pressure generated during launch. 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
Browse Image | Medium Image | Full Res Image