NASA rover launch to Mars delayed to Nov 26

Nov 21, 2011
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory is seen in August 2011 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The US space agency has postponed by one day its plan to launch the biggest rover ever to Mars, with the liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory now set for November 26.

The US space agency has postponed by one day its plan to launch the biggest rover ever to Mars, with the liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory now set for November 26.

The delay will "allow time for the team to remove and replace a flight termination system battery," NASA said in a statement.

The launch is now scheduled for 10:02 am (1502 GMT) on Saturday from , Florida. The remains open for one hour and 43 minutes.

Also known as the Curiosity rover, the vehicle is a $2.5 billion state-of-the-art equipped with video cameras and a sophisticated mobile tool kit for analyzing rocks and soil on the red planet.

With six wheels, a laser beam, drills, rotating eye-like cameras and a built-in lab, Curiosity is "a Mars scientist's dream machine," according to Ashwin Vasavada, MSL deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The rover will explore the Gale Crater on Mars, just south of that planet's equator, where a range of soils exist and a small mountain gives the rover a chance to climb and analyze samples at different heights.

But first it faces a long, 354-million-mile (570-million-kilometer) journey to get there, taking about eight and a half months before landing in August 2012.

Its main goal is to determine if life ever existed on Mars.

Explore further: Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mars Science Laboratory meets its match in Florida

Oct 06, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In preparation for launch later this year, the "back shell powered descent vehicle" configuration containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has been placed on the spacecraft's ...

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 ...

NASA's curiosity continues mobility checkouts

Jun 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Spacecraft specialists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., have been putting the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, through various tests in preparation for shipment ...

NASA ready for November launch of car-size Mars rover

Nov 10, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's most advanced mobile robotic laboratory, which will examine one of the most intriguing areas on Mars, is in final preparations for a launch from Florida's Space Coast at 10:25 a.m. ...

Recommended for you

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

10 hours ago

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

13 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

16 hours ago

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

16 hours ago

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...