NASA's ambitious trip to the red planet to check for itself if life sustainance is possible, will now see the light of the day with the launch scheduled for this week, confirms an official post on NASA's website. Curiosity, the Mars rover will literally be at the heart of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission and would be placed atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The liftoff is scheduled for the 26th November, 2011 from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:02 am EST. Packed inside the Atlas V, Curiosity will be in flight for 9 months before it begins work on the surface of the red planet.
Mars, despite being the planet closest to home, has not been fully explored, yet. According to Pamela Conrad, MSL Principal Deputy Investigator, “Earth and Mars were made at about the same time and, yet followed very different evolutionary pathways. Earth is so full of life and Mars is quite cryptic. So, we would like to know about Mars's past, and specifically if Mars has been inhabitable ever.” However, it is being learnt that missions to Mars have been very challenging to all those who've undertaken them, and hence the MSL mission is carrying aboard the best technology available to conduct experiments on its own, while being away from home. Inside the rover, NASA has housed in a laboratory which will test the rock samples that Curiosity will gather during its course of research.
Wheeled Curiosity is the size of a car, and to its Mars mission it will carry suite of 10 instruments and laser to conduct research. To know NASA's mission to Mars and Curiosity better, watch the video here.