Atlas V at Launch PadCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- On Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the 197-foot-tall United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is in place at Space Launch Complex 41 after rolling out from the nearby Vertical Integration Facility (VIF). Atop the rocket is NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), enclosed in its payload fairing. The rocket began its move from the Vertical Integration Facility at 8 a.m. EST and arrived at the pad at 8:40 a.m. Liftoff is planned during a launch window which extends from 10:02 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. EST on Nov. 26. MSL's components include a car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for signs of life, including methane, and help determine if the gas is from a biological or geological source.
More information about Curiosity is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/msl or http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.
Image Credit: NASA