NASA's Next Mars Rover Nears Completion

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity at JPL, Side View The rover for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, named Curiosity, is about 3 meters (10 feet) long, not counting the additional length that the rover's arm can be extended forward. The front of the rover is on the left in this side view. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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April 06, 2011

Assembly and testing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is far enough along that the mission's rover, Curiosity, looks very much as it will when it is investigating Mars.

Testing continues this month at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on the rover and other components of the spacecraft that will deliver Curiosity to Mars. In May and June, the spacecraft will be shipped to NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla., where preparations will continue for launch in the period between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011.

The mission will use Curiosity to study one of the most intriguing places on Mars -- still to be selected from among four finalist landing-site candidates. It will study whether a selected area of Mars has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life and for preserving evidence about whether Martian life has existed.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about the mission, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

2011-108

Images

Top of Mars Rover Curiosity's Remote Sensing Mast

The remote sensing mast on NASA Mars rover Curiosity holds two science instruments for studying the rover's surroundings and two stereo navigation cameras for use in driving the rover and planning rover activities. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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NASA Mars Rover Curiosity at JPL, View from Front Left Corner

Support equipment is holding the Mars rover Curiosity slightly off the floor. When the wheels are on the ground, the top of the rover's mast is about 2.2 meters (7 feet) above ground level. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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