Members of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory team carefully steer the hoisted Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument during its June 15, 2010, installation into the mission's Mars rover, Curiosity. The main body of the rover, upside down, is in the left half of the image, behind the installers.
CheMin, provided by the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., will enable Curiosity to provide definitive mineral identifications from powdered rock and soil samples delivered to the instrument by the rover's robotic arm. The inlet funnel for the samples is visible at the bottom of the instrument in this scene where CheMin is hanging upside down for installation.
The rover's components and 10 science instruments are coming together in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The team members' special garb (commonly referred to as bunny suits) is part of the care taken to keep the spacecraft clean.
NASA will launch Curiosity from Florida in late 2011 on a mission to study whether an intriguing area of Mars has offered conditions that favored development of microbial life and preservation of evidence in the rock record.