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11.10.2008

A Rough, Tough, Red Planet Rock Hound

View the MSL overview video
 
QuickTime Video (177 MB)    |   Captioned QuickTime Video (177 MB)

Humans can't go to Mars (yet), but at least for now, we can send extensions of ourselves. Mars Science Laboratory's rover will be the hardiest geologist the red planet's seen yet, going farther and into rougher terrain than ever before. And, it also carries the most sophisticated instruments we've ever sent to the surface of Mars, including a laser to zap hard-to-reach rocks and check out what chemicals and minerals they're made of.

The rover's durable design and big backpack of gear allow the team back on Earth to "see" and study the history of some very remote areas. These areas may hold some answers to the big question: did Mars ever have an environment to support life?

In this video, peek inside the rover's pack and hear why John Grotzinger, the project's lead scientist, can't wait to explore Mars with one rough rover.

Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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