Giant Robot to Invade Mars

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Image: NASA

On November 26, 2011, an Atlas V rocket shot out of our atmosphere with a payload destined for Mars, in a mission known as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). Riding inside the craft like a giant robot astronaut is Curiosity, the fourth Mars rover to visit the red planet since 1997.


Image: NASA/JPL – CalTech

Curiosity is currently around 73,000,000 km out from Earth and slated for landing on August 6th, 2012. The rover is already living up to its name: conducting experiments en route.

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Image: Charles Atkeison

When radiation from an X-class solar storm hit the MSL in January, Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measured radiation levels inside the craft. These data will help in planning future manned missions.

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