Friday, December 16, 2011

APOD 2.4

Nov. 30 : Curiosity Rover Lifts Off for Mars

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     The weekend of November 26th-27th, the Mars Science Lab which carried the Curiosity Rover took off "atop an Atlas V rocket".  An Atlas V rocket (built by Lockheed Martin) was the first rocket in the United States Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.  The first Atlas V was launched in August 2002.  The Mars Science Laboratory took off from Cape Canaveral.  Curiosity is five times the size of Opportunity (another Mars rover) and looks like a small car.  It is equipped with a camera, a rock crusher, and is powered by plutonium.

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.

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