The major components of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraftâ€”cruise stage atop the aeroshell, which has the descent stage and rover insideâ€”were connected together in October 2008 for several weeks of system testing, including simulation of launch vibrations and deep-space environmental conditions.
These components will be taken apart again, for further work on each of them, after the environmental testing. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is being assembled and tested for launch in 2011.
This image was taken inside the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., which manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.