NASA to Announce Landing Site for New Mars Rover

Curiosity - The Next Mars Rover This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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July 18, 2011

WASHINGTON -- NASA and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum will host a news conference at 10 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 22 to announce the selected landing site for the agency's latest Mars rover. NASA Television and the agency's website will provide live coverage of the event that will be held at the museum's Moving Beyond Earth Gallery. In addition, the event will be carried live on Ustream, with a live chat available, at http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl .

The news conference participants are:
-- John Grant, geologist, National Air and Space Museum, Washington
-- Michael Meyer, Mars Exploration Program lead scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
-- Dawn Sumner, geologist, UC Davis, Calif.
-- Michael Watkins, Mars Science Laboratory project engineer, JPL

The Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity, will land on the surface of Mars in August 2012. Curiosity is being assembled and readied for a November launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Curiosity is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover.

The rover will study whether the landing region had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving clues about whether life existed.

July 22 is Mars Day at the National Air and Space Museum. The annual event marks the July 20, 1976 landing of Viking 1, the first spacecraft to operate on Mars. The day will feature displays, family activities and presentations by scientists from the museum's Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, the Museum of Natural History and NASA. Visitors will learn about the latest Mars research, missions and see a life-size model of Curiosity.

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv .

For more information about the new rover, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl .

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for NASA.

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

Dwayne C. Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

Isabel Lara 202-633-2374
National Air and Space Museum, Washington
larai@si.edu

2011-214



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