Next Mars rover stretches robotic arm

September 6, 2010
Spacecraft technicians at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., conduct a test of the robotic arm on Mars rover Curiosity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover that will be on Mars two years from now, has been flexing the robotic arm that spacecraft workers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory attached to the rover body in August 2010.

The arm will be crucial for putting samples of or powdered rock into analytical instruments inside the rover. A camera and to be installed at the end of the arm will also examine rocks and soils in place.

The Mars Science Laboratory will launch from Florida in November or December 2011 and land in August 2012 at one of the most intriguing sites on Mars. The landing site is still to be chosen from four finalists. Once on Mars, Curiosity will study whether the landing region has ever had environmental conditions favorable for life and favorable for preserving evidence of life if it existed.

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Explore further: Rocky Mesas of Nilosyrtis Mensae, Mars

More information: Learn more about Curiosity at mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

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