NASA: New Mars rover set to blast off later this month
Linkedin

NASA: New Mars rover set to blast off later this month

Pasadena : CA : USA | Nov 12, 2011 at 8:37 AM PST
XX XX
Views: Pending
 
blank

NASA is making final preparations for the launch of its newest Mars rover, "Curiosity," set to begin its journey November 25.

NASA's most advanced Mars rover to date is in its final stages of preparation at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Officially named "Mars Science Laboratory," the 9-foot-long, six-wheel-drive, robotic research vehicle will hitch a ride atop an Atlas V rocket ready and waiting for the high-tech buggy at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Twice the length of earlier Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and weighing nearly one ton, Curiosity is equipped with a seven-foot long robotic arm designed to be used for up close study of near objects such as rocks and soil.

The state of the art rover also dons a seven-foot retractable mast equipped with cameras and a laser-firing instrument which has the ability to vaporize rock, enabling Curiosity to study selected targets at a greater distance.

Overall, Curiosity will carry 10 scientific instruments, each designed for different tasks as the rover navigates the red planet's terrain.

Scheduled to make its landing on the Martian surface in August 2012 (if things go as planned), Curiosity will first examine the Gale Crater, called by NASA scientists "potentially habitable."

NASA gave its new baby a substantial upgraded compared to past models Spirit and Opportunity. In addition to its larger size and the advanced capability of its mast and robotic arm, scientists believe they have solved the problem of unreliability found in the solar panels used in previous missions.

This time around, the Curiosity rover will be powered by plutonium, making its radioisotope power system able to roam the Martian surface day or night.

The new system will also eliminate the problem of dust collecting on the panels, choking the vital power needed to propel the rover and operate its instruments.

Built using funds budgeted to NASA in past years, the program will still need money to pay scientists to monitor and study data collected by Curiosity and sent back to earth.

The government agency must have been quite concerned as lawmakers debated the agency's budget for 2011.

Although in the end Congress came to a compromise and agreed on an $18.5 billion budget for the space agency, it received a 1.3 percent cut in funds from what was allotted the previous year.

For more information on the upcoming mission along with pictures and videos showing Curiosity's journey from conception to reality, visit NASA's Official Web Site.

1 of 4
Next
blank
R. Francis Rubio is based in Clearwater, Florida, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
Report Credibility
 
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
 
 
 
Advertisement
 

News Stories

 
  • $2.5B rover reignites NASA's search for habitability on Mars

      USA Today
    Mars rover, a laser-equipped and nuclear-powered lab on wheels, for a Nov. 25 launch...In 2004, the agency's still-operating Opportunity rover discovered crater rock layers deposited by water, a crucial ingredient for life. The new rover aims to...
  • Spacewatch: the missions to Mars

      The Guardian
    Wish you were here ... a Martian crater as snapped by an earlier Nada rover, Opportunity, in 2007. Nasa is planning to launch its Curiosity rover, the Mars Science Laboratory, during a window that lasts from 15:25 to 17:05 GMT on 25 November, with...
  • Will this Red Planet rover send groundbreaking data over?

      Los Angeles Times
    Here in the Mars Yard at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory , what passes for the Red Planet looks like a vacant lot in Hesperia. The vehicle being tested, a replica of the latest Mars rover that will soon be crawling around up there, looks like a giant...

Blogs

 >

Images

 >
 

More From Allvoices

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report



Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.