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Modern-day Mars experiences cyclical changes in climate and, consequently, ice distribution. Unlike Earth, the obliquity (or tilt) of Mars changes substantially on timescales of hundreds of thousands to millions of years.
Changes in Tilt of Mars' Axis
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This artist's concept depicts NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft near Mars.
MAVEN at Mars, Artist's Concept
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Employees gathered one level above monitor the progress of the protective mesh container known as the "gorilla cage," holding the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, as it is lifted near the top of the Atlas V rocket in the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41.
Installing the MMRTG Power Source
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Enclosed in the protective mesh container known as the "gorilla cage," the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is lifted up the side of the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41.
Lifting the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG)
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The Atlas V rocket set to launch NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is illuminated inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41, where employees have gathered to hoist the spacecraft's multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG).
Curiosity's Rocket Illuminating On the Launch Pad
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A dune in the northern polar region of Mars shows significant changes between two images taken on June 25, 2008 and May 21, 2010 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Movement in Martian Dune Field
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A rippled dune front in Herschel Crater on Mars moved an average of about one meter (about one yard) between March 3, 2007 and December 1, 2010, as seen in these images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Rippling Dune Front in Herschel Crater on Mars
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A rippled dune front in Herschel Crater on Mars moved an average of about two meters (about two yards) between March 3, 2007 and December 1, 2010, as seen in these images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Rippling Dune Front in Herschel Crater on Mars
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The eastern margin of a rippled dune in Herschel Crater on Mars moved an average distance of three meters (about three yards) between March 3, 2007 and December 1, 2010, as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Shifting Sand in Herschel Crater
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A rippled patch of sand in Becquerel Crater on Mars moved about two meters (about two yards) between November 24, 2006 and September 5, 2010, as observed in these images taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Blowing in the Martian Wind
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This artist's concept depicts the rover Curiosity, of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, as it uses its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to investigate the composition of a rock surface.
Curiosity at Work on Mars (Artist's Concept)
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NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft has been fully stacked for flight in this photograph from inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in October 2011.
Mars Science Laboratory Stacked Spacecraft
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During final stacking of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, the heat shield is positioned for integration with the rest of the spacecraft in this photograph from inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Mars Science Laboratory Heat Shield Integration for Flight
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The cruise stage of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is being prepared for final stacking of the spacecraft in this photograph from inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Mars Science Laboratory Cruise Stage
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The "powered descent vehicle" of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is being prepared for final integration into the spacecraft's back shell in this photograph from inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The powered descent vehicle combines the spacecraft's descent stage and the rover Curiosity.
Integrating Powered Descent Vehicle with Back Shell of Mars Spacecraft
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The Mars Science Laboratory mission's "powered descent vehicle" is the integrated combination of the spacecraft's descent stage and the rover Curiosity. It is shown inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla. in this photograph taken during final assembly of the spacecraft.
Mars Science Laboratory Powered Descent Vehicle
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The Mars Science Laboratory mission's rover, Curiosity, is prepared for final integration into the complete NASA spacecraft in this photograph taken inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Mars Science Laboratory Rover Closeout
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The descent stage of NASA's Mars Sciecnce Laboratory spacecraft is being lifted during assembly of the spacecraft in this photograph taken inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Mars Science Laboratory Descent Stage
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Employees at Space Launch Complex 41 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., keep watch as the payload fairing containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is lifted up the side of the Vertical Integration Facility on Nov. 3, 2011.
Hoisting NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Onto Its Atlas V
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In the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41, the payload fairing containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft was attached to its Atlas V rocket on Nov. 3, 2011.
Mars Science Laboratory Atop Its Atlas V
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Preparations are under way to enclose NASA's Mars Science Laboratory in an Atlas V rocket payload fairing in this photograph from inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Mars Science Laboratory and Its Payload Fairing
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This oblique view of Gale Crater shows the landing site and the mound of layered rocks that NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will investigate. The landing site is in the smooth area in front of the mound.
Canyons on Mountain Inside Gale Crater, Annotated
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This computer-generated view depicts part of Mars at the boundary between darkness and daylight, with an area including Gale Crater beginning to catch morning light.
Daybreak at Gale Crater
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This unnamed channel drains part of Margaritifer Terra.
Channel in Margaritifer Terra.
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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.
Transporting to Launch Pad
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