Image credit: NASA.
NASA's next Mars rover has completed the journey from its California birthplace to Florida in preparation for launch this fall.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, also known as Curiosity, arrived Wednesday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center aboard an Air Force C-17 transport plane. It was accompanied by the rocket-powered descent stage that will fly the rover during the final moments before landing on Mars. The C-17 flight began at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., where the boxed hardware had been trucked from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.
The rover's aeroshell -- the protective covering for the trip to the Red Planet - and the cruise stage, which will guide it to Mars, arrived at Kennedy last month. The mission is targeted to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18. The car-size rover will land on Mars in August 2012. (read more)