Mars science laboratory mission status report

May 25, 2011 By Guy Webster
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. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

During processing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., an incident occurred on Friday, May 20, involving the spacecraft's back shell.

A crane lift of the hardware caused unexpected on interfaces between the back shell and its ground support equipment. These interfaces are used during ground operations in preparation for launch. A structural assessment of the back shell was performed in the area of these interfaces.

Inspections and analyses through Monday, May 23, have not identified any damage. Flight processing is expected to continue this week.

The back shell is used to protect the rover and descent stage during entry in Mars' .

Mars Science Laboratory will launch during the period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, 2011, taking its rover, Curiosity, to an August 2012 landing. During a two-year mission on Mars, Curiosity will investigate whether a selected area of Mars has offered environmental conditions favorable for and for preserving evidence about life.

The spacecraft's back shell, and cruise stage were delivered to Kennedy Space Center on May 12. The rover and descent stage will be delivered in June.

Explore further: NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP Satellite team ward off recent space debris threat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Next Mars rover nears completion

Apr 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Assembly and testing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is far enough along that the mission's rover, Curiosity, looks very much as it will when it is investigating Mars.

Mars mission components delivered to Florida

May 16, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- An Air Force C-17 transport plane delivered the heat shield, back shell and cruise stage of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on May 12, 2011.

Next Mars rover stretches robotic arm

Sep 06, 2010

(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 ...

Recommended for you

The formation and development of desert dunes on Titan

14 minutes ago

Combining climate models and observations of the surface of Titan from the Cassini probe, a team from the AIM Astrophysics Laboratory (CNRS / CEA / Paris Diderot University) , in collaboration with researchers ...

'Eau de comet' is a bit of a stinker

40 minutes ago

Rotten eggs, horse pee, alcohol and bitter almonds: this is the bouquet of odours you would smell if a comet in deep space could be brought back to Earth, European scientists said on Thursday.

The great world wide star count

1 hour ago

How many stars can you see at night? Right now people all over the world are being asked to go out and count them!

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gmurphy
not rated yet May 25, 2011
Cannot wait for this thing to get going, I wish the team involved the best of success.