Exploring the Solar System

Mars Missions in the Twenty-First Century

What is the Curiosity Mars mission?

The, Mars Science Laboratory is NASA’s latest mission to the surface of Mars. This scientific rover, named Curiosity, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on November 26, 2011. It soft-landed in Gale Crater on the Martian surface during the late night hours of August 5, 2012, after a dramatic descent using a brand-new “sky crane” technology. About the size of a small passenger car, Curiosity is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) system that allows the rover to travel around and explore Mars without the need for solar panels. With an impressive set of cameras, spectrometers, and other scientific instruments on board, Curiosity is a fully equipped robotic geology laboratory that scientists are using to search for evidence that the red planet may have once supported life.


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