Photo: Panorama of Mars rover components
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: August 15, 2011
The Mars Science Laboratory, NASA's next rover destined for the planet Mars, has completed functional testing inside a pristine clean room at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Next up for the $2.5 billion mission is the assembly of its major components, including the six-wheeled Curiosity rover, a high-tech descent and landing stage, and a robust heat shield and aerodynamic shell to shepherd the craft through the Martian atmosphere.
Liftoff aboard an Atlas 5 rocket is scheduled for Nov. 25. Touchdown on Mars will occur in August 2012.
This panorama shows the clean room floor inside KSC's payload hazardous servicing facility, where the rover, descent stage and backshell are being prepared for launch. The craft's heat shield is in the room next door.
Space video for your computer, iPod or big screen TV