NASA's rover Curiosity lifted off Saturday for its 354-million-mile cruise to Mars. After its nearly nine-month trip, the six-wheeled robot will descend to begin studying the environment for a better understanding of the red planet's history.
NASA's Mars explorer Curiosity, the most capable robotic rover ever built for taking the measure of a planet, is to launch Saturday morning. Curiosity will analyze the layered terrain in Gale Crater to read in its rocks the history of the environment there.
After a decade of "following the water," planetary scientists want to see if water co-existed with other critical environmental conditions that could have allowed simple forms of life to emerge.
NASA's new Mars rover, dubbed Curiosity, is designed to investigate Mars's chemical environment, paving the way for future missions to search for past or present life on the Red Planet.
Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars probe malfunctioned after launch on Nov. 8, leaving it in Earth orbit. Scientists have at last reestablished contact, but options for the mission appear limited.
The next Mars rover, Curiosity, is scheduled to launch Saturday. It's the first Mars rover to jettison solar panels for nuclear power, meaning it can go places and do things others couldn't.
Officials from NASA and the European Space Agency have pitched in to help save the Russian Phobos-Grunt probe, which was supposed to fly to a Martian moon to collect soil samples but is instead stuck in orbit around Earth.
Russia's Phobos-Grunt probe, which was supposed to fly to one of Mars's moons and return with a soil sample, broke down shortly after launch and is now uselessly orbiting Earth. Is Russia's space industry on the verge of collapse?
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, which includes the car-sized Curiosity rover, arrived on its Cape Canaveral launchpad on Thursday. But some experts worry about the lack of funding for Mars missions beyond 2013.
The size of a small car, NASA's one-ton Curiosity Mars rover contains twice the number of scientific instruments as its predecessors, plus a drill that will allow it to bore into the Red Planet's rocks.