In the Vertical Integration Facility at Launch Complex 41, the Mars Science Laboratory with the Curiosity rover is atop the Atlas V rocket.
The "integrated systems" test, which encompasses the final integrated avionics systems testing with the spacecraft prior to launch has been successfully completed. An MSL flight system "baseline test" also has been performed. This was a state of health check for the rover, descent stage, cruise stage, science instruments and cameras.
The Flight Readiness Review will be held on Nov. 18. Closeouts of the spacecraft and the Atlas V fairing are scheduled to follow on Nov. 19.
Curiosity has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars has had environments favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life. 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.
George H. Diller 321-867-2468
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.