NASA rover launch to Mars delayed to Nov 26

November 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: Next Mars rover stretches robotic arm

Related Stories

Next Mars rover stretches robotic arm

September 6, 2010

( -- 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 ...

NASA's curiosity continues mobility checkouts

June 14, 2011

( -- 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 to NASA's Kennedy ...

Mars Science Laboratory meets its match in Florida

October 6, 2011

( -- 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 heat shield. ...

NASA ready for November launch of car-size Mars rover

November 10, 2011

( -- 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. EST (7:25 a.m. PST) ...

Recommended for you

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...

Researchers find a new way to weigh a star

October 5, 2015

Researchers from the University of Southampton have developed a new method for measuring the mass of pulsars – highly magnetised rotating neutron stars formed from the remains of massive stars after they explode into supernovae.


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.