The $2.5 billion Mars Rover Curiosity successfully launched from Cape Canaveral at 10:02am, beginning the eight month journey to determine whether or not Mars was ever suitable for life.
"We are very excited about sending the world's most advanced scientific laboratory to Mars," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. The laboratory is being carried aboard an Atlas V rocket, and is set to land near the foot of a mountain inside Gale Crater: a place with thick layers of sediment for a wealthy amount of research into the possibility of inhabiting Mars in the future. Curiosity is significantly larger than any Mars Rover that has been before, five times heavier as well, and includes drill on a 2.1 metre arm, a laser to vaporize rocks, and a custom built nuclear powered electrical system from the Department of Energy. It contains no moving parts; but transforms a small amount of plutonium into a mission-long supply of power at a 110 watt stream.
Check out the launch and an in-depth description of Curiosity below.
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