The new mars rover mission

Scientists have decided to point NASA’s next Mars rover toward a mountain of layered minerals inside Gale Crater, after a process of picking the right landing spot. One big reason Gale won out is because it’s like Neapolitan ice cream, offering a yummy combination of flavors. Curiosity not only will return a wealth of important science data, but it will serve as a precursor mission for human exploration to the Red Planet. The $2.5 billion mission is due for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on an Atlas 5 rocket, as early as the day after Thanksgiving, with landing on Mars set for August 2012. The rover is designed to be lowered to the Martian surface by a rocket-powered “sky crane” system that’s never been used before for interplanetary probes.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPMR7c4wPcA&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3]

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