Mars Science Laboratory
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a NASA mission to land and control a rover named Curiosity on the surface of the planet Mars. The MSL was launched on November 26, 2011. The MSL successfully did the first-ever precision landing on Mars. It landed on Mars at Gale Crater on August 5, 2012 and began exploring the surface.
MSL cruise configuration
|Mission type||Mars rover|
|Mission duration||Primary: 669 Martian sols |
Elapsed: 2845 sols
|Manufacturer||JPL, Lockheed Martin|
|Launch mass||3,839 kg (8,463 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||November 26, 2011, 15:02:00.211UTC|
|Rocket||Atlas V 541 (AV-028)|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-41|
|Contractor||United Launch Alliance|
|Landing date||August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC SCET |
MSD 49269 05:50:16 AMT
|Landing site||"Bradbury Landing" in Gale Crater |
The goal of the Curiosity rover is to study the history of Mars. It was to see whether Mars has, or ever had, an environment able to support microbial life. It indeed did that, finding evidence that 3 Billion years ago there was once water and a life-supporting environment. It is important to know that it found that life COULD HAVE existed, not that it certainly DID. It will also carefully look at samples scooped up from the soil and drilled powders from rocks.
Curiosity is five times as heavy as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit or Opportunity and carries more than ten times their mass of scientific instruments . It was launched by an Atlas V 541 rocket. Curiosity will be expected to work for at least 1 Martian year (668 Martian sols/686 Earth days), but may live a lot longer than that. It will explore Mars with greater range than any other rover.
Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program. The program is a long-term mission of robotic exploration of Mars. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology manages the program for NASA. The total cost of the MSL project is about US$2.3 billion.
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- Kaufman, Marc (November 19, 2011). "A mission of Curiosity". Washington Post. p. A1.
- "Mars Science Laboratory: Mission". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
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- Kaufman, Marc (2011-11-21). "Landing on Mars is hard, but another mission to the Red Planet is about to begin". Retrieved 2011-11-22.
M. K. Lockwood (2006). "Introduction: Mars Science Laboratory: The Next Generation of Mars Landers And The Following 13 articles" (.PDF). Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. 43 (2): 257–257. Bibcode:2006JSpRo..43..257L. doi:10.2514/1.20678.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mars Science Laboratory.|
- MSL Home Page
- Send Your Name To Mars
- MSL - Demo, reported by The Planetary Society.
- MSL - Entry, Descent & Landing (EDL) - Description. (PDF)
- ChemCam Mounted with LIBS for Classifying Carbonate Minerals on Mars (PDF)
- MSL Press Kit