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We are thankful that the Obama administration did not see this as just a waste of money but the Mars science laboratory – which is a super sophisticated rover designed to check out the conditions for life on marks was moved to the launch pad today, and set on top of its launch vehicle – the Atlas 5 rocket! The rocket is set to take off on the Thanksgiving weekend.
The spacecraft costs about $2.5 billion and has been named Curiosity and is expected to arrive at Mars in August 2012. It will land at a site called the Gale Crater which is a large impact crater with a 3-mile high mountain rising from its floor. The robot is nuclear powered and is twice as big and three times heavier than the Spirit and Opportunity solar powered rovers. Now from the two only one of the rovers is working on marks nearly spending eight years on the red planet.
Curiosity is designed to spend one Martian year — 687 Earth days — analyzing soil and rocks on Gale Crater for signs of organics, among other studies. Launch is scheduled for Nov. 25 at 10:25 a.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.