by Staff Writers
Kennedy Space Center FL SPX) Oct 07, 2011
In preparation for launch later this year, the "back shell powered descent vehicle" configuration containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has been placed on the spacecraft's heat shield.
The matchup was performed by technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The heat shield and the spacecraft's back shell form an aeroshell that encapsulates and protects the rover from the intense heat it will experience during the final leg of the trip to Mars-the friction-filled descent through the Martian atmosphere.
The mission is scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during the period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18. Arrival at Gale Crater on Mars is expected in August 2012.
After arrival, the Curiosity rover will investigate whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Mars Lab at NASA
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Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
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The Strange Attraction of Gale Crater
Huntsville AL (SPX) Oct 05, 2011
Curiosity is about to go to Mars. The car-sized rover, also known as the Mars Science Lab, is scheduled for launch in late November or early December 2011 from the Kennedy Space Center. After an eight-month voyage to Mars, Curiosity will land at the foot of a 3 mile high mountain in a crater named "Gale." It sounds a little odd-a mountain in the middle of an impact crater. Wouldn't the imp ... read more
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