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's reliance on outsourcing launches causes a dilemma for the space agency

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

Crash test assesses plane emergency locator transmitters

20 hours ago

The Cessna 172 airplane dangled 82 feet in the air – looking almost like it was coming in for a landing, except for the cables attaching it to a huge gantry at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, ...

NASA image: Curiosity's stars and stripes

20 hours ago

This view of the American flag medallion on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 44th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). ...

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.