NASA Rover Takeoff: The Search For Life On Mars
NASA's next Mars mission is go and gone
With a roar of flame, the rocket with NASA's latest and most advanced rover took off as it began its journey with a mission: to find evidence that life has or had existed on Mars. NASA says that their latest robotic rover Curiosity should arrive on Mars by August 2012.
A new step in space exploration
Curiosity is a much more advanced machine than its predecessors, as well as much bigger. The rover is about the size of a Mini Cooper and is equipped with the state-of-the-art sensors and equipment with chemistry instruments, environmental sensors and radiation monitors. Because of the extra size and weight however, NASA has developed a new landing system including retro rockets, a crane and parachutes for Curiosity's landing in a crater near the equator.
High hopes riding on the rocket as well
There is no denial in the excitement as NASA as well as the scientific community wait to see what Curiosity will discover once it does land on Mars. Whether or not it will find life, the project is still a step ahead for NASA in their development for their robotic rovers as well as investigating Mars.
"We are ready to go for landing on the surface of Mars, and we couldn't be happier," said John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist. "I think this mission will be a great one. It is an important next step in NASA's overall goal to address the issue of life in the universe."
Curiosity will be joining its fellow robotic rover Opportunity on Mars and will help to prepare for the arrival of humans.